Ever feel like you need a vacation after your vacation? I know it might sound crazy, but you’re not alone.
Recently I returned home on a Sunday evening after a wonderful 5-day vacation. Almost as soon as the plane touched down, waves of anxiety began to wash over me. Monday was only hours away, and I felt completely unprepared.
Thoughts of the enormous workload awaiting my return, both at work and at home, consumed me. I felt frazzled, and completely ill-equipped for the work week ahead.
I was driving home, trying in vain to categorize each of my anxious thoughts when Philippians’s 4:6-7 came to mind: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
After meditating on these verses, and taking several deep and prayerful breaths, I almost immediately felt the soft waves of God’s peace wash over me. I resolved that I was not going to grant this anxiety power over me, and potentially undo the peaceful rest that I had worked so hard to create over the last five days on vacation.
I chose to respond to my anxiety by creating a new strategy, and so can you.
I made a list of 5 things I could do that evening to help me take on the coming Monday.
These practices didn’t take me long, radically reduce my anxiety levels and had me feeling encouraged and empowered to take on the week ahead.
1. CLEAN OUT THE CAR
Take a moment to toss the junk mail, empty your half-full water bottles, wipe the crumbs off the seat and organize the miscellaneous items lying on the floor. Perhaps you could even swing by the gas station to top off your gas tank, and buy a quick car wash. Come Monday morning, you’ll feel less stressed while in route to the office, and if you get stuck in traffic you won’t be nervously glancing at your gas meter.
2. TIDY UP THE KITCHEN
Does your sink have a couple of days’ worth of glasses, plates and coffee mugs in it? Take twenty minutes to clean it out, wipe down the counters and load up the dishwasher. It may seem like a small effort, but when you prepare your coffee/breakfast tomorrow morning you’ll thank yourself for doing it!
3. REVIEW YOUR CALENDAR
Briefly look at your work calendar and make a short list of action items and priorities that you want to accomplish. Remember to set yourself up for success by creating realistic work expectations. You’ve just been out of the office for quite a while and it could take a day or two to catch up on your work.
4. GET ACTIVE
Go for a 30-minute walk, jog or run. It is proven that exercising releases stress, relieves anxiety, improves our overall health and makes us feel good! I recently picked up the hobby of rollerblading around my neighborhood. Not only does the act of physical exercise calm me, but it allows me to meet and greet neighbors and friends that I normally would not see as frequently.
5. PLAN YOUR OUTFIT
Monday’s are the perfect day to dress for success. Looking good and feeling good can kick-start your week off right, and give you that extra boost of confidence you need to take on those back to back meetings like a pro.
In all, completing numbers 1 through 5 took me just under 2 hours, and was worth every minute. I went to sleep swiftly, feeling confident in my ability to take on the morning to come. I recommend you make a checklist, and a few days before you travel attempt to get ahead of them. For instance, you could clean your car out prior to heading to the airport. You could plan your outfit based upon what clothes you don’t pack, that way you know the items will be clean whenever you return.
Ideally, we could all try to incorporate more time between the end of our vacations, and the beginning of a work week; however, when a vacation after a vacation isn’t possible, I recommend doing these 5 things to help you reset and recharge before the work week arrives.
Taking steps that set you up for maximum effectiveness and success is almost always worth it.