Ever since I've been in the working world, I've taken an extra day off after any holiday that involves me going away somewhere far.
I am not sure why I started doing this, but for me a holiday can sometimes be as stressful as a normal work week. You're either dealing with family in constrained spaces, have full itineraries to get the most out visiting a faraway place or just emotional and physically drained in general.
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I also realised not everyone does this. On a recent dive trip to Sodwana Bay, I made sure to work it in so that I have a day at home after my trip before going back to work, but my travel buddy didn't do the same, heading straight to the grind the day after we land back home.
The whole last day of our trip she was dreading going to work the next day, lamenting that she needs some rest and throwing me lots of side-eye when I said I am only going back the next-next day.
Besides these very scientific reasons for why you should always have an extra day at home after a holiday, the biggest reason of them all: you won't be spending your last day on holiday complaining about going to work the next day.
Catch as many zzzz's as possible to combat the tiredness of a 5-hour road trip back home or a 12-hour flight from your island vacation. You don't have to be at work or the 06:30 tour of the city that your over-eager significant other booked.
It's also the last moment to relish in the bliss that is waking up without an alarm clock.
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Time to unpack
Instead of letting your suitcase fester in the corner of your room with dirty clothes and exotic goodies that have sprung their packaging, make your first priority to pack everything away or throw it in the wash. A day off makes you more inclined to do this than telling yourself you'll do it after your first day of work.
The longer it sits, the harder it will be to face the growing laundry monster in the eye.
Sort out the to-do lists left behind
Whether it's a dentist appointment, grocery shopping or finally dealing with the overgrown shrub blocking your driveway, this little extra day in-between work and holiday is the best time to catch up with all the things you've left lagging behind, and lets you start work with that feeling of achievement alongside being relaxed.
You could do these on your weekends, but we all know you won't.
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Once all that is cleared, your travel bag is in the cupboard and you have a fridge full of groceries, just do nothing. Don't be tempted to go out for a last-minute drink or try to catch that last bit of holiday vibes with an activity in your town or city. All it will do is drain your chill and make it even harder to get back to work.
Instead catch up on some shows or chill with a book or anything relaxing at home - this is the time to just be.
Rewire the brain for work mode
Having a productive day mixed in with doing nothing will give your brain a nice little nudge to start heading into work mode - without drowning it with an email tsunami.
You can put out your clothes for the next day, look through your diary for the week and, if you're brave enough, start clearing out some items in your inbox to get a head-start in the morning.
But only if you're really brave.
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