Prolong that holiday feeling when you’re back at work

7 Aug 2018 By Royston Guest

The end of vacations doesn’t have to mean a return to drudgery if you adopt the right attitude, says Royston Guest

Keeping the holiday feeling going when you’re back at work isn’t about your manager agreeing to a daily cocktail hour or sun loungers in the car park. It’s about acknowledging your personal emotional wellbeing is on an equal footing to your capability to perform your role.  It’s your energy source powering your performance. 

Your ability to maintain your after-holiday glow is fundamental to your performance and the performance of the business both in the short and long term. So here’s how you can do it.

Apply the ‘performance zone’ to your working day

The performance zone is when you’re ‘on it’, doing your thing, being the best version of you. But before you enter it, a warm-up is critical. Take running as an example: before you start your 10K sprint, you complete a five-minute walk to get the blood flowing and the heart pumping. 

Before you enter your performance zone for the day – the office, the laptop, the mobile – start your warm up. Think about what is worthy of your time for that day, stop and reflect on the trade-offs you are going to have to make in order to get things done and accept those decisions, before writing down your to-do items for that particular day. 

Having set yourself up for success, you can transition into your performance zone feeling in control of your day and what you need and want to achieve. Yes, things will fly at you from left field, but before you dive in firefighting, take time out to apply your warm-up techniques so you can reset your day with these new demands in mind. 

Close out your day in the ‘recovery zone’

The recovery zone is often the zone we miss. This is where you transition from your performance zone – work – into your personal life. It’s where you come down from the high or low of the day, reflect on what’s gone well or not so well, and question what you have learned, which will help you be better tomorrow. 

The recovery zone is where you decompress and close down the day, so you can shut the door and tune into your personal life – family, hobbies, outside activities – and be present in the moment. Often, our challenge is that we put little time into the recovery zone, which means we carry the day into our evening, never quite turning off. Before we know it, it’s morning again.

Block out ‘quality downtime’

While the utopia is being able to leave work and not think about it, for some of us, for whatever reason, this is just not realistic and you need to be grounded in reality to make it work. If a complete shutdown is not an option for you, simply block out quality downtime instead; short, regular breaks where you switch off and are in the moment. 

And when you’re not working and it’s your downtime, switch off phones, tablets and laptops. Seeing a flashing red light on your phone to announce a new email message is not going to help you switch off. Your natural curiosity will want to see who it is from and what it is about. And once you’ve had a look, your mind is now switched into work mode. 

Start to recognise the warning signs that you’re losing that holiday feeling. Are you working longer hours? Is this becoming the norm? Has your workload significantly increased and it’s not due to a big event? Do you feel you’ve crossed the line between being positively challenged and productive to being overwhelmed and stressed?  If any of these bells are ringing, take action now. You don’t want to spend your days just counting down to the next holiday.

Royston Guest is CEO of Pti-Worldwide, author of #Built to Grow and founder of livingyourfuture™.  Follow his weekly blog at

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