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Post-Vacation Syndrome: 5 Struggles Everyone Can Relate To After A Long Holiday

Post-Vacation Syndrome: 5 Struggles Everyone Can Relate To After A Long Holiday

We all love long vacations. Sun, sand, parties and exotic island sleep-ins. It’s the time you take to spend your precious work entitlement, let your hair down, and throw caution to the wind- well, that’s what you dream of, anyway. Too often your sun-drenched dreams are shattered as you return to the realities of working life and, typically, to the pile of unanswered emails awaiting you in your inbox.

Emails aside, here are five struggles you’ve undoubtedly encountered at some stage during your post-vacation crash:

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1. You dread being in your own house

After the star-studded splendor of the Hilton and the rigorous attention to detail of the Radisson, your humble abode is hardly a tropical oasis that’s exciting to return to. Time around the pool is replaced by time mowing the lawn, walks on the beach are now walks on the treadmill, and the bikini girls you spent hours watching (narrowly avoiding being caught out by your partner) are now figures of your imagination. You’re back at that place called home, and it sucks. You now remember why TV was invented, and have a new appreciation for the work they do on the TV show, The Block.

2. You realize you’re broke

Vacation’s over, time to inspect the budget. The first day back at work is normally spent trolling through account statements and drinking copious amounts of office coffee to try to fill the gaping hole in your stomach- a hole caused by the slow realization that your hard-earned savings were stolen by Santa. Well, actually it was you acting as Santa and buying all those treats for the kids, the pamper session for your wife, and that duty free computer you had to have at the Los Angeles International Airport. No amount of liquid luck can hide the fact that your healthy bank balance just had a stroke, and it’s up to you to administer CPR.

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3. You feel time has slowed

In the days following your return from vacation, you seem to have had trouble with that fancy Rolex you purchased from a friendly gentleman in a tailored suit standing on the sidewalk of a busy street in Baghdad. You are sure that it’s running slow, and are considering your options for a replacement, when you realize it’s not the watch, it’s just that life seems slow and boring compared to your vacation. Oh well. You take solace in the fact that there could be nothing wrong with your beautiful, brand new watch… Wait, is that “Rolox” inscribed on the back?

4.  You daydream a lot

While you’re sitting in your office at work, you hear a knock on the door and your boss enters, holding a big yellow file. He’s red in the face, and shouting something at you, and all you can manage to do is smile, wave, and walk out the door. You leave the building with the idea of selling everything you own, jumping on a plane to a tropical island somewhere, and living off fish and coconuts while spending every day on the beach with the sun in your face.
Then you wake up.
It’s not the boss, it’s your co-worker inquiring about the blank look on your face, and cautiously asking if everything is OK, as it seems to have become a regular occurrence. Rats. Another lunchtime daydream spoiled. But wait, your Rolox says you’ve got time for one more…

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5. You realize that you’re a cog in the machine

Blinded by the euphoria of travel, and the expectation of adventure, excitement, and an unlimited supply of Coronas delivered to your hammock by attractive wait staff, during your vacation work took a welcome sideline seat. But once the party’s over, and the reality of life sinks in upon return from your vacation, you seem to see things in a whole new light. Suddenly, that task that you’ve been assigned seems trivial, and you wonder how the 700 other people in your office can stand coming in day in, day out, to work in a place where you don’t even know what your CEO looks like in person. The free beers from the friendly bar manager at the “Rio de Beerto” inspires you more than the establishment you work for when you realize that here you really have no greater purpose than to make the shareholders rich, and your clients happy. Oh well, at least there’s free coffee in the staff room down the hall…

Featured photo credit: Travel | Kathmandu | Nepal via flickr.com

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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