How to Deal With Post-Vacation Depression
I love me some vacation!
I’m getting ready to jet off on a plane to Vegas. No, I'm not gonna gamble the night away and pay $50 for a mediocre steak (because about the only thing in Vegas I'd like to do is sit in a camp chair with a bottle o' wine watching the Bellagio fountain). Yes, I am gonna high-tail it outta the city straight into the amazing Utah/Arizona wilderness that neighbors that crazy city.
I am so blessed to get to travel as often as we do - I could not be more grateful. But in the midst of literally living my dream lifestyle, a struggle has emerged for me with my business.
Difficulty integrating back into work
When I come back from vacation I feel like I'm in a hole. If post-vacation depression is a real thing, I think I've got it. It's not because I don't love my business, I do. I just haven't figured out how to effectively transition from living out of a backpack in the wilderness for two weeks to back to real-life fully connected to tech and hittin' the nail in my business.
After my last vacation, it took me a full week and a half to get back to normalcy, ugh it hurts to just type that. Before that, all I wanted to do was plan our next adventure and binge-watch Elementary on Netflix while I felt utterly guilty about my lack of productivity with my business especially in contrast to my husband's immediate back-to-work hustle.
I knew that if I wanted to continue living an adventurous life full of travel + make a positive impact in this world with my work that I'd have to figure out a better way to transition back and forth, quickly. I've spoken with quite a few people about this the past few weeks to get their honest thoughts about what might be going on and what to do about it. I thought it would be good to reflect on this before I left and share with all of you, because, well, I'm sure you're going through shit too, so let's go through it together.
Post-vacation solution ideas
Integrate rest & outdoors into my days back
I LOVE the outdoors and my vacations are full-wilderness and fully-disconnected. This is a stark contrast to everyday life and maybe the solution to reintegration is a more thoughtful transition period. Here are some ideas my friends and I brainstormed for the first day or two back:
Have a work-free transition day to settle back in, unpack, do laundry, look at vaca photos, dream about my next vacation, etc.
Do only non-computer work the first day.
Work outside on the back patio for the day.
Start my day with a walk or bike outside and go back out for lunch or an afternoon break.
Work on my mindset
I KNOW I am doing the right work, but sometimes I have to remind myself that I haven't been doing this that long and that building a pipeline of clients takes time, especially when I don't work on retainer and have to always be getting new clients to earn a paycheck. Because I've been an entrepreneur for 7 years, I apply my expectations for earnings to also be at the 7-year mark even though this is my second business and I've only been working on this new business full-time since January when I sold my coworking space. When I get back from vacation, the reality of my failing unrealistic expectations hits me like a freight train. Here are some of the things I'm trying out to counter this mindset hurdle.
Last week I got together with my friend and business buddy, Rebeca Arbona. As we picked veggies from her garden and talked shop, she shared her Magic Book with me. It's a notebook that she writes daily affirmations in. She gifted me a journal to start my own Magic Book (which I'm calling a Miracle Book since I write in it as part of my morning prayer time). I'm hooked.
I used to write one line at the end of every day about what I did that day that is in line with the person and I want to be and the impact I want to have. I got out of the habit recently, but this morning decided to pick this back up. It motivates me to accomplish something each day and reminds me that the work I'm doing is important even when it doesn't feel like I accomplished much that day.
Today I bought a ticket to the Reset Conference to tackle my mindset issues like this.
Set boundaries & expectations
I THRIVE living a life full of flexibility and freedom, but I've realized that despite this freedom, I am happiest and most productive when I set boundaries and clear expectations for myself (the key here is that I get to set them, not let someone else set them for me). When I let myself operate under complete freedom, I struggle to be productive (or be productive on the right things). Here are some ways I'm using this understanding of myself to better set myself up for success when I return from vacation:
I easily get sucked into working from home when I know I am happier and more productive when I go to my coworking space at least a few times a week (plus I get fresh air by having to leave the four walls of my home...). I've decided that the first or second day back to work I will force myself to get out of the house and cowork.
I will schedule a coffee chat, speaking gig, or some other commitment with someone besides myself to occur within a few days of coming back (a great suggestion from my friend and mind/body practitioner, Sue McLaughlin). The first three days I'm back I have at least something scheduled each day: a workshop with the American Marketing Association Cincinnati and two chats with other business women.
I have a session scheduled with Sue a few days after getting back since she always gets me out of any funk I'm in. I call her my business therapist!
I have pre-planned the week's priorities for when I get back and have written it down visually on a sheet I'll leave at my desk, so there's no procrastinating on figuring out what to work on when I get back!
So there you have it, an unfiltered look inside my current struggles. I don't have it all figured out, but I'm gettin' there! Stay tuned for an update on how things go when I return from vacation!
Do you struggle with this? If so post about it in the comments below and let me know if you’ve found anything that works for you.
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