New research by mobile travel app Vamoos has revealed that 1 in 4 people feel as stressed after returning from vacation as they did before they left.
Research conducted on over 1,000 travelers who go on luxury, educational and/or adventurous trips revealed that 24% felt stressed after returning home from vacation, which is only 1% less than the number of people who feel stressed right before leaving. Further insights from the report indicated that women were likely to be more stressed than their male counterparts, both before their vacation (30% vs 20%) and just after (27% vs 20%).
Whilst it has long been accepted that people feel stressed when booking or preparing for their vacation, less consideration has been given to how people feel when they return, often coming back to pressures at work, a mountain of emails and a never-ending to-do list. This is in addition to other factors such as getting children back into school or bedtime routines. Interestingly, only 5% of the 61 travel companies also interviewed as part of the research knew that their clients felt stressed after their vacation.
“This new research would suggest that many people returning to work apparently ‘refreshed’ after their vacation, may be experiencing similar levels of stress as they were prior to leaving. More worryingly, they could either be suffering in silence or find their stress is disregarded as a simple case of the post-vacation blues,” explains Tony Bean, Director at Vamoos.
As global awareness on the importance of mental health continues to gain momentum, Tony suggests that more needs to be done to help people to settle back into daily life after they return from vacation. This includes both employers and travel companies.
“Holiday companies have already started to address pre-vacation stress by providing checklists, handy reminders and apps to help their customers feel more in control prior to departure. What is needed now is a greater understanding and empathy for them after they return, perhaps better preparing them for those initial feelings of stress that they are likely to experience, along with some positive ideas for their next vacation to allow them to focus on their next exciting adventure,” adds Tony.
If you have returned from a dream vacation and are feeling the tension rising, don’t fear! Here are a number of ways to tackle post-vacation stress:
PLAN BEFORE YOU LEAVE – Sometimes the run up to clocking off from work can mean you leave many tasks incomplete, particularly those that can easily wait until you return. Trouble is that you’ll come back to an ever bigger mess than you left, which won’t help with the stress levels. Making sure you have planned the work for your return means that you are more likely to feel in control and on top of the situation. It’s always worth seeing what work can be delegated while you are away to further lessen the burden on day one!
EAT THE FROG – Don’t worry you don’t actually have to ‘eat’ a frog! There is a well known saying in the time management world to ‘eat your frog’ in the morning; this essentially means do the worst tasks first rather than putting them off until last, as this will help you to stop procrastinating and be more productive for the rest of the day. If facing a mountain of emails on your return to work fills you with dread, suck it up, grab a coffee and get down to it. You’ll feel so much better once it is done and able to focus on the day ahead.
EASE YOURSELF IN SLOWLY – After a wonderfully relaxing vacation, your mind is unlikely to be going at its usual lightening speed. Don’t expect it to just switch back on now you’re at work, it’ll take a little time to warm up. Try to avoid overloading yourself with back to back meetings, status updates and client calls on your first day back. Book them in over a series of days to ensure you don’t become too overwhelmed as you readjust to working life.
DON’T BE ASHAMED OF VACATION TIME – Many people find themselves over-compensating for their time away, working excessively long hours prior to going, checking emails or responding to queries on holiday, or putting in extra shifts on their return to catch up or make up for the time they were away. Rest and recuperation is an essential part of working life and if necessary to retain mental and physical health. Enjoy it, be thankful for it, and don’t apologize for it; you deserve it!