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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 March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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