The restoration gained from taking a week away from the office is vastly underrated. The 9-to-5 workload compounded with mundane daily stresses can make life seem more juggled than balanced. Once booking a trip and sliding off smartphone email notifications, relaxing on a sandy beach has the power to unlock a more carefree and clear-minded state that can continue even after the vacation is a pleasant memory. The catch is maintaining the island mentality when it is back to business as usual.
Make the transition from vacation mode to office mode smoother by thinking a few steps ahead, advised Brett Graff, better known as “The Home Economist” and author of Not Buying It: Stop Overspending and Start Raising Happier, Healthier, More Successful Kids. Nothing kills that laidback buzz like returning to a messy house. Clean before boarding the flight, or (better yet) hire a maid service to perform a deep cleaning while you’re sightseeing in Ibiza. “When you get home, you won’t feel the pressure of having to do all your normal chores,” Graff said. Simply having something nice to look forward to is enough to keep spirits high. “Order a gift for yourself online before you leave for vacation or even while you’re away…that way you have a little present waiting for you.” The same advance planning applies long after you’ve landed—make leisure an unbreakable scheduled appointment. “Plan to go to an event or a nice night out doing something you love a few days after returning from vacation.”
Pace it Out
Firing out emails once the plane hits the tarmac negates much of the relaxation inspired by the trip before even stepping back into the office. Once behind the desk, resist the urge to overcompensate. Graff advises returning to work fresh, prepared to tackle tasks at a normal rate within normal business hours. Overworking after vacation can make life seem more frenzied than before the getaway. “Instead of always rushing around, allow yourself to take the time to have conversations, take a leisurely hike or luxuriate at breakfast,” said Laurel House, celebrity empowerment coach. Consider it permission to stop and smell the roses. “Put together a list of the things and activities that make you feel happy, relaxed and alive. Go to that list whenever you have time and space to relax.” Returning to reality can feel like a shock. Just a few minutes of meditation can help reduce stress and negative emotions, according to the Mayo Clinic. It’s free and you can do it anywhere—even at work.
Living in a region many consider an escape makes playing tourist particularly convenient—and fun. It’s easy to overlook local treasures. (Surely you’ll make it to the Vanderbilt Museum one day, right?) View the Island through fresh eyes—discover a new park, a scenic walk or farm-to-table restaurant. A good guide is to incorporate the activities you enjoyed during vacation in ways that translate closer to home. Relished the hotel’s spa package? Check out East Wind in Wading River. Perhaps it’s exotic cuisine you’re longing for? Sangria 71 in Williston Park is the ticket to flavors of Spain. “Have a staycation once a month and do everything that you would do if you were somewhere else,” House said. Just because the vacation ended, it doesn’t mean you have to eschew the mindset altogether—it’s essential for maintaining an effortless cool factor year-round.