5 ways to manage your after-vacation workload
If you can’t delegate, then regulate the extra work.
Juice Staff Published: 12/14/2018
You get two weeks of vacation a year, but your workload stays the same. That means your Zen-like state following that restful stretch in Maui is erased by the mountain of work you face in the weeks following your return. Which leaves you wondering: Is a vacation even a thing anymore?
Alicia Rozycki, PhD, a psychologist with Baptist Behavioral Health, said she sees the challenge of returning to a significant workload most often with people who have jobs that entail ongoing projects.
“I’ve known people who feel stressed about taking time off because they know things will just pile up,” she said. “But, certainly it’s not healthy to be in a position where you never feel like you get a break. The physical body and mind need a period of rest.”
Employers take note: Without rest, the body is stressed. Low stress may escalate into high stress, and can eventually develop into full-blown clinical anxiety or depression, cautioned Dr. Rozycki.
Getting back into the swing of things without sacrificing post-vacation calm
The easiest solution is to delegate some of the work, before you leave or after you get back, Dr. Rozycki said. Not everyone has a job where that’s possible. Consider whether you are doing anything to contribute to your overworked status.
“If you’re the kind of person who struggles with assertiveness, you may be the one who gets many projects assigned to you or who struggles with setting a boundary to limit the number of projects you take on,” Dr. Rozycki said.
After you’ve negotiated the best work-life balance you can, here are five ways to bring your remaining larger-than-normal workload back under control:
- Prioritize. Spend some time looking at the tasks for the week, and separate those that need immediate attention from those that can wait.
- Organize. When you feel overwhelmed by a huge task, your anxiety level will spike. You don’t know how to start, so you don’t start anywhere. You procrastinate. Break those large tasks down into smaller steps. Small accomplishments build confidence.
- Shift your mindset. There’s a saying: Don’t sweat the small stuff; and it’s all small stuff. Remember, your Inbox is always going to be full. There’s never going to be a time when all of your emails get answered or when all of your tasks are done. In accepting this fact, it may be easier to keep a relaxed attitude and way of being in your approach to work tasks.
- Don’t reinvent the wheel. Stick with a work style that has been effective for you in the past. Did you get more done when you had 30 minutes at the beginning of the day to plan and organize your day? Make sure you’re still doing that.
- Schedule time for relaxation, eat a healthy diet and exercise. Even though you’re playing catch-up, you’ll work more efficiently if you practice healthy body-mind-spirit habits.
If you are seeking a mental health care provider, visit Baptist Behavioral Health or call 904.376.3800 to speak with a patient coordinator and find one who is right for you. You can also visit a primary care physician for guidance.