“Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.” –Dolly Parton
Last week I spent time in the Sierras on vacation. If you read last weeks post, you know that it was great to get away and hang out with family. I felt rejuvenated on my return. Even the 8-hour car drive down I-5 didn’t dampen my spirits.
However upon my return, I felt resistance to getting back to work full swing. Don’t get me wrong, I love my work. But I do get caught up in it, and the freedom I felt on vacation was liberating. I thought about past vacations, and how when I go back to work the feeling of having time for myself dissipates.
I decided this time would be different.
I realized my resistance came from the thought of catching up and getting back into the regular groove of work. But then I had a revelation that it didn’t need to be this way. After all, it was really just my mindset that was creating the resistance.
So, I decided to focus on incorporating my feelings of vacation-induced well-being into being back at work. For the first time, I didn’t spend long days making up for lost time, but instead eased back into my routine while taking time to really notice my thoughts and feelings. I focused on inner peace and feeling replenished as I settled back into my work routine.
If I were to measure what I got done the first week back, I’d say my new approach was much more productive, and the feeling of replenishment continued to carry me.
So here are a few tips to extend your vacation elation while getting back into your daily routine.
Ease into it
Often when we take a well-deserved vacation, we have the tendency to immerse ourselves in our work as soon as we get back. Sure there’s stuff to catch up on, but that doesn’t mean we should negate the time we had off by working extra-long days.
In fact, having time away gives perspective.
Start off by making a list of the absolute first things that need to happen. Be systematic about what needs to get done right away, and what can take a back burner. Know that it might take a few days to catch up, and that everything will get done.
But you want to know the best part? When you do it this way, there’s actually time for other things beyond work, even though you just returned from vacation.
Be happy to be back
It’s easy to move into overwhelm after being away. The key is to consciously embrace the work in front of you from a place of focus and well-being. Be mindful and reasonable about what you want to accomplish, taking into account that things may come up. Just like when you’re on vacation, know what you want to do, plan it out, but stay open to opportunities.
After returning from my recent vacation, this meant bringing my newfound energy to my work, deciding what needed immediate attention, and resisting the urge to do everything at once. It also meant being present, enjoying my work, and having fun.
Keep the balance going
Vacation can be so many things. Think about what it was that made it wonderful for you. Maybe it was being somewhere new, being with family, or just having time to do nothing.
The truth is, we don’t need to physically go away or do something we “only do on vacation” to create a daily sense of well-being. That feeling is always within us.
What makes the difference for me is working wholeheartedly on the task at hand, and taking time to do other things that energize me, like walking on the beach, noticing the sun’s light reflecting on the waves, talking with family and friends, reading, cooking yummy food, and, of course, petting my cat. Really pretty simple stuff.
That feeling of well-being and fun can be present every day. Our time off fuels what we create, and reminds us that there is so much for us to experience. Keeping your vacation elation going is all about how you are with yourself when you slip back into your daily routine. When we create the balance that works for us, the feeling of well-being will be present all the time.
We’d love to hear your tips for maintaining vacation elation, so lay them on us in the comments.