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Overcoming Vacation Inertia to Reset and End the Year Strong

TIGNUM Thoughts

September 4th, 2021

Insights from the author

By Laura Penhaul

Recently, I had a coaching call with a client to help her prepare for her summer vacation. Due to COVID, it was the first travel away from her home city in a very long time. While she was excited to have a great break, her excitement was tempered by dread over the challenges she will face at work upon her return.

With four months of high intensity ahead to reach the year-end, she couldn't help but ruminate on the unknown challenges ahead during this final push. To make matters worse, she indicated that it sometimes takes her 2-3 weeks to get back up to speed after vacation.

Does this sound familiar?

I, for one, have definitely experienced this in the past when I was working with athletes to prepare for the Olympic games. When the Olympics were over, I took a short, much-needed break, but the entire time my mind kept wandering to the need to be full steam ahead when I returned. Have you ever sacrificed your own recovery during a vacation because your ruminating thoughts hijacked your mindset?

To conquer this, the first step is to recognize your low impact self-talk. This sounds easy, but too often we let our low impact self-talk go on for way too long. The quicker you recognize this, the quicker and easier it is to reframe. At TIGNUM, we find that often this low impact self-talk is driven by unnecessary thoughts about stuff that is out of our control. Without reframing, these thoughts tend to become a reality and diminish future performance. What if you could reframe these thoughts to focus on the benefits you were getting from this recovery? Wouldn't this help you get your mind and body in the best place possible to start day one with the energy and enthusiasm to make your post-vacation push impactful?

A great technique to prevent the 2-3 week vacation lag is to build a purposeful transition back to work. Remember, a good transition is clear about what you are transitioning from and what you are transitioning to. Visualize yourself walking in the door at work or jumping on your first video call. See yourself in control and being focused, prepared, and eager to tackle whatever challenges come your way.

At TIGNUM, we strongly believe in the power of purposefully creating your self-image. This ToBeVision provides your brain with the foundation to create who you want to be, both at work and at home. By reviewing your ToBeVision daily after vacation, you are priming your brain to avoid vacation lag and preparing to rule your impact.

Imagine an Olympic champion like Usain Bolt after a two-week holiday. Would you expect him to be able to run at a world record pace, with no warm-up and no sprinting for the previous two weeks? Unlikely. He first needs to get his mindset engaged and then get back to his physical preparation to create his best performance.

A key to quickly refocusing after vacation is to consider the key projects and people you'll need to prioritize to drive impact upon your return. Doing this will help you focus on the impact versus the clutter. When your brain feels overwhelmed with clutter, it quickly fatigues.

Hopefully, you can see, with a touch of purposefulness and reframing, it's possible to make your end-of-year "push" an end-of-year opportunity to have a massive amount of impact and enter the winter holiday season energized.


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