The holiday season is upon us. Everyone is gearing up for Christmas in just a few days and then New Years immediately after. We’re frantically rushing to complete unfinished work tasks and yearly reports in addition to the Christmas shopping, holiday planning, and preparing for the overwhelming amount of family time we’re about to experience. It’s difficult, to say the least, attempting to get through your hundreds of work emails before the break while your son texts you new items added to his Amazon wish list every fifteen minutes and your sister is struggling to even make trip arrangements back home on her own, there’s no chance she’ll show up with the dessert and wine.

Yes, the holidays are stressful, overwhelming, and exhausting. However, they’re also some much needed and well-deserved time off of work to spend with your family and enjoy and appreciate the dysfunction and minimal chaos. But, what makes the holidays even better?...Relieving some of the disorder and mayhem of returning to work after. After all, who wants to spend their few days off stressing about returning to work?

Before the Holiday…

The most effective method to avoiding future turmoil is to prepare ahead of time. You wouldn’t take a family vacation without first researching locations, booking a flight and hotel, planning activities, and checking to make sure you have all necessary documents and anything else you might need for the trip ahead of time. Why should a vacation from work be any different?

So, prepare prior to the break by…

  • Getting caught up on all your work before you leave

  • Complete all pending assignments, projects, and tasks (it also wouldn’t hurt to get a little bit ahead of schedule to ease the transition of returning to work)

  • Set up your “out of the office” automated email response

  • Organize your to-do list and prioritize tasks for when you return to work

During the Holiday…

Now that you’ve planned and prepared for the break, all that’s left to do is enjoy your holiday! Make the most of your vacation time; you’ve earned it. So, log out of your email, clock out of the office, and enjoy. It’s time to get into holiday mode. Don’t worry, your office cubicle will still be there when you get back, exactly how you left it. Reward yourself for all the hard work you’ve put in this year.

After the Holiday…

After you’ve celebrated, relaxed, gave and received, and ate your entire body weight in ham or turkey, mashed potatoes, and mac and cheese, it’s about that time to drag yourself back into the office. Here’s a few tips that can help you transition back into ‘work mode’ after returning from your holiday break:

  • Stick to your old routine

Jumping back to work is strenuous enough as is, don’t attempt to change your typical workday routine too.

  • Start with your to-do list

Yes...the one that you created, organized, and prepared before you left for the holiday.

  • Plan for your recovery time

You might be feeling a little sluggish after returning to work. Therefore, expect to spend a little extra time on all of your tasks and plan for your more frequent coffee breaks and the added minutes spent staring into space.

Returning to work after a family-filled, relaxing holiday doesn’t have to be quite so excruciating. All you’ll need for a smooth transition is a little bit of planning, plenty of gratification, followed by acceptance and easing back into an old routine. You might even be slightly grateful to return to your office cubicle.