Back from Vacation? 5 Tips on How to Cope

Back from Vacation? 5 Tips on How to Cope
By Marcia Passos Duffy

Vacations can be relaxing and offer much-needed respite from the stresses of running a business. But coming back to your artisan business—after a week or two of vacation—can be a lot like experiencing culture shock.

The fast pace and demands of your business may hit you full-force as you must contend with hundreds of unanswered emails, dozens of telephone messages, and a pile of unopened mail. You may feel like you’re moving at a snail’s pace while the rest of the world is speeding past you at 100 miles an hour.

This after-vacation phenomenon is so common that goes by several names: post vacation blues, vacation hangover, and even post-vacation depression disorder. In a nutshell it means that you are having trouble concentrating on work, feel "down” about getting back to business, and miss your time off.

While it isn’t always possible to avoid post-vacation blues, here are some effective ways to cope:

1.    Don’t be hard on yourself and give yourself time to readjust.  "Yes, I cry as I get on my flight back home after leaving my favorite vacation spot, Maui,” says Janet Spurr (http://www.janetspurr.com/), author of "Beach Chair Diaries: Summer Tales from Maine to Maui.” To help transition herself back into her work life, Spurr says she makes a schedule for some creative time so that the business part of her work does not overwhelm her.  "A half an hour, hour, or a few hours on the weekend…for artist-time,” she says.  Also try to schedule your vacation return on a Saturday (rather than a Sunday) to give you an extra day to readjust or catch up on sleep if you have jet lag.  Even take an extra day or two off and make your first week back shorter; go a step further and treat yourself to something special when you get back, such as a massage. Most importantly, don’t feel guilty about easing yourself back into work—consider it re-entry therapy!

2.    Clear out correspondence clutter.  Probably the worst part about coming back to your business is all the emails, letters and other correspondence that has built up while you have been gone.  Nancy Giere, owner of NGlassworks, LLC (http://www.nglassworks.com/), a jewelry-making business in Williamsburg, Va., suggests dedicating one to three hours when you return for going through correspondence. "Getting everything organized and scheduled makes work reentry seem less overwhelming,” says Giere.

3.    Delegate tasks.  If you can, hire an intern or temporary help to tackle some business tasks that you find overwhelming, such as bookkeeping or order entry.  This will help you get up to speed faster and decrease feelings of overwhelm.

4.    Relive your vacation.  While it may seem counterintuitive to revel in your vacation memories when you are trying to get back to business, it can actually help with reentry. Your vacation memories are meant to be savored and reliving special moments can help you readjust.  Author, speaker and trip wellness specialist, Elaine Masters of Solana Beach, Calif., (http://www.drivetimeyoga.com/) says that after her 10-day scuba diving trip to Fiji—and a 13 hour return flight—she was not enthusiastic about being home.  It helped Masters to relive her vacation by journaling about the trip, posting entries in a blog, and sharing pictures online with friends. "This helped me feel complete, sated, and ready to get back into the flow of life.”

5.    Plan to make reentry easier next time.  If you take time now to do a little reentry planning for next year it may help minimize future post-vacation blues.  For example:

•    Post a "to do” list on your desk before you leave to help you pick up where you left off.

•    Make arrangements with a colleague or an artisan friend to be on "standby” in case of a business emergency (you can return the favor when he or she goes on vacation).

•    Check your email midway through your vacation—but don’t take any action on items unless absolutely necessary.  If it does need action, delegate it to your designated "standby” associate.

•    Don’t leave loose ends with customers or clients. 

•    Make a date with a fellow artisan when you get back to talk about new ideas for your business.

Coming back after a vacation is never easy, but it can certainly be made less painful if you incorporate your work into your trip, suggests artist Pablo Solomon (http://www.pablosoloman.com/

"When I am on a trip I never cease to be an artist,” Solomon says.  While on vacation, view the trip as not a respite away from your business, he says, but an opportunity to incorporate into your work new ideas and inspirations experienced while on vacation.


MARCIA PASSOS DUFFY (http://www.backporchpublishing.com/) is a freelance business writer based in New Hampshire and is a member of the state’s artisan and business organization, NH Made.  Marcia’s articles have appeared on Yahoo Finance, CNBC, Bankrate.com, NFIB.com, Smart Business Magazine, The New York Times Lifewire, The Weather Channel, among others; she is the author of the book, Be Your Own Boss. She is also the publisher and editor of Our Local Table magazine (http://www.localtablemonadnock.com/) and The Heart of New England magazine (http://www.theheartofnewengland.com/).  Marcia wrote this feature article exclusively for the Association of Artisan Businesses (http://www.blogger.com/), an organization dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the artisan industry.