How to Come Back from Vacation with Less Stress

How to Achieve Work/Life Balance

Out of Office - Beach

If the best part of going on vacation is the going, the worst part is definitely the coming -- as in coming back, according to The Muse contributor Stacey Gawronski.

"A few years ago I took a half day on a Friday -- a half day! -- and while enjoyable, it led to a brutal Monday morning," Gawronski says. "I knew I had to find a solution -- or resign myself to never taking a day off ever."

Anyone who's taken time off from work knows the feeling: When you come back, the pile of work waiting for you is so high that you wonder whether it was worth it to take time off in the first place. Next time you ponder a vacation, you flirt with the idea of not taking it at all. 

Although you can't eliminate post-vacation stress entirely, Gawronski has a surefire solution for reducing it: checking your email.

"The day before I'm due back at the office, I check my email," she says. "I sift through pages of messages, deleting, starring, archiving, reading, and then marking unread as necessary. I do this in front of the TV sometimes, with a glass of wine in one hand, the other on my phone. I don't respond to anyone -- my out-of-office vacation responder remains on until I'm officially back to work -- and I don't ping my manager or forward anything that needs forwarding. Not yet. I simply check out the scene. Doing this in advance of getting back to work reduces my stress and anxiety."

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Contact Successful Meetings Editor in Chief Vincent Alonzo with your "How To" ideas.