by Rich Nightingale, RN
How many times have we heard or said, “I need a vacation to recover from my vacation”.
Your summer vacation is full of activities, many meant to decrease your stress, and yet, as it comes to an end, the thought of returning to work, or school, can be stressful.
The majority of us can’t follow one vacation with another, unless we quit work or win the lottery while on vacation.
So what is the best way to get back in the swing of things? Here are a few tips, which may make the transition back to the grind, a little easier.
First, get your sleep cycle back in sync. While on vacation, we tend to stay up later and sleep in longer. A few days before returning to work, go to bed at the time you would when you’re working the next day. You may stay awake a little longer than usual, which is why you need to start the routine a few days before returning. Don’t feel you have to get up at the same time; at first, set your alarm for an hour after the usual time you get up for work. On the day before returning to work, set it for half an hour before your usual rising time. The more rested you are, the less stressful the first week back will be.
Second, if you can arrange it, return to work from your vacation in the middle of the week. Many studies have shown that people returning to work after a lengthy absence, due to illness or injury, have a successful return to work if they return on a Wednesday or Thursday. Returning on a Monday makes that first week back seem extremely long, and can elevate the stress. If you return in the middle of the week, it makes the weekend closer, and you can organize yourself better for the first full week back.
Finally, bring a memento back to your workstation, such as a photo or souvenir from your vacation, to remind you of the good, relaxing time you had. Taking a minute or two to reflect on how much you enjoyed your vacation is a great distraction from the stress of your job.
And remember, above all, it was your job that paid for your vacation. Also if you didn’t work, how could you have a vacation? These are just some ideas to ponder while at work and when planning your next vacation.
Rich Nightingale, RN, is a Mental Health Community Nurse with Lanark County Mental Health.
Lanark County Mental Health is a valued partner of Almonte General Hospital and provides service to patients from an office located within the Hospital.