27th March 2019

Reentry Strategy: Five Tips to Avoid Reentry Stress After a Vacation

Although we all love taking a break from work, vacation can often create a lot of stress. And reentering back into work and the routine of everyday life after being gone for an extended period of time can be brutal!

After you return from your trip, a mountain of tasks awaits you at home, including:

  • Laundry to wash
  • A refrigerator to restock
  • Emails to read
  • Mail to sort
  • To do list items

And on and on. Sometimes the stress of just thinking these tasks before leaving for your trip is enough to make you want to cancel. I’ve been there. But don’t cancel your plans! Taking a break by going on that vacation can actually boost your productivity at work afterward—if you go about it correctly.

Before you leave, make a strategy for how you’re going to avoid falling into the trap of reentry stress. Here are five tips on how to make an easy, smooth transition back into your work routine and everyday life after your vacation.

  • Block the first morning
  • Make use of travel time
  • Reflect on your work
  • Slowly and steadily get back into your work routine
  • Tackle the house as a team


1. Block the First Morning

If your first day back includes stressful meetings, you may find yourself falling behind and getting overwhelmed. Don’t take any meetings the first day you return to work. Instead, ease yourself back into work. The only meeting you should be booking is with yourself. Block off the first morning or, better yet, the entire first day if you can. Take the time by yourself to catch up on emails and voicemail messages. Respond when you need to.

Get clear and current. What did you miss while you were away? The world may not have stopped, but that doesn’t mean you have to fall behind. Check in with your colleagues to catch up on everything you missed during your time off.

If you take this time to transition, you won’t experience as much stress while you get back into your routine. You’ll be more efficient and effective with the work you get done.


2. Make Use of Travel Time

Depending on how far you’re traveling, you may end up spending a significant amount of time transporting from your destination to back home. Why not make the most of this time? If someone else is driving or if you’re flying, you can take this time to get ready for the week ahead. Organize yourself by reviewing your task and calendar. This will help you mentally get back in the game. Take your time to get caught up emails and send responses if you can.

If you’re driving yourself back home, you might want to consider returning home with a few hours to spare. This way you can still take the time to catch up on emails and mentally prepare for the upcoming week. While you’re driving, mentally transition back into work mode. Think ahead about what you need to accomplish and how you can be the most effective in completing those tasks.


3. Reflect on Your Work

Getting away from your usual routine and environment is the perfect opportunity to reflect on your work. New ideas and insights are most likely to hit you while you’re away from your normal routine.

While your brain is still fresh, take time to evaluate. Be honest about your work. Think about changes you can make and areas that need improvement.

  • Are you attending some meetings unnecessarily?
  • Are you generating reporting that no one reads?
  • Are there some tasks on your calendar that aren’t worth the time you’re putting into them?

For some of these items, you might need to take a different approach. With others, you should eliminate them altogether. Getting away can be a great way of seeing what tasks are worth your time and what simply are not as important. Think about how you’re allocating your time and what you can do moving forward to be the most effective and productive that you can be.


4. Slowly and Steadily Get Back into Your Work Routine

In the coming week, give yourself grace as you ease your way back into your regular work routine. Don’t schedule any especially challenging work for yourself in the first two or three days after returning home. Remember that the world didn’t collapse while you were away. You’ll catch up on everything you missed, but it might just take a little time.

Even though you’re back at work, there’s no need to completely forget your vacation. Get together with friends to talk about your trip and share your vacation photos.


5. Tackle the House as a Team

When you arrive home, put the whole family to work. If you have kids that can help with the chores, let them. You and your spouse can work on different tasks simultaneously. If you think ahead, there might even be some things that you can get done before you leave. For instance, you might be able to order groceries online before you leave for vacation and get them delivered the night get home. That’s one task you won’t have to worry about when you return!

Get creative. Sometimes setting a timer to see how quickly you can accomplish a task will help you work fast. If everyone pitches in, the work will be done in no time. Many hands make light work!

Don’t let the stress of reentering your home prevent you from relaxing while you’re away. If you follow this strategy, you’ll experience an easy transition back into your routine. Don’t feel guilty about taking a break. It will boost your productivity and your mental health. With that in mind, go enjoy your vacation!


Carson Tate is a renowned coach, teacher, and creator of the Productivity Style Assessment® with expertise in providing simple solutions that transform individuals’ personal and professional lives. Learn more about her philosophy and strategies for productivity by visiting https://www.workingsimply.com/