How to survive your first day back at work

Everyone knows the worst part of going on holiday is coming home. Worse still is going back to work!

You’ve just spent two weeks out of the office on a beach/city/adventure break (delete as appropriate), where the hardest thing you had to do was decide whether you want beer or a cocktail with your dinner. You now have to drag yourself out of bed at 6am and make your way to a building where you’ll sit like a zombie in your jetlagged state for the next 8 hours. It’s tough, I know. I’ve been there many times.

Though I don’t always follow them myself, here are my 9 handy tips on how to survive your first day back at work. You’ll be back into the swing of things in no time 🙂

  • Book your next holiday before you get back. And if you can set your out of office on a delay, do it now. It will mean you have something definite and make you feel like the end is already in sight!
  • Go out for lunch. Treat yourself to a nice meal in a local restaurant, or something different from that café down the road. Get out of the office for a bit – go for a walk, go for a run, just anything to get you away from your desk
  • Before you go, give people plenty of warning of when you’re leaving and when you’ll be back. With enough warning, your colleagues should remember not to send you loads of emails while you’re away so there won’t be stacks of things to come back to…
  • …But if there are, prioritise the things in your to do list so that you’re not completely rushed off your feet. Remember you’re only one person and you can’t do everything in the time you’re paid to do it. Focus on the most critical stuff, and work out what can be left for another day or pass on to someone else.
  • Get your head down and focus on something to get through the day quicker, but try not to do too much or you’ll completely destroy that nice, relaxed you that you’ve built up while away.
  • Talk about your holiday! Most of your colleagues will want to know what you got up to and see pictures. You could even bring back some airport chocolates or sweets from the country you visited to make them feel involved. But choose wisely who you talk to about your holiday – don’t tell all your awesome stories to the first person you see. Instead, spread them out because a lot of people will ask. Avoid the office grump – they might make you feel even worse about coming back!
  • Plan something nice after work so that you have something to look forward to in the evening. This will keep you going throughout the day and mean you’re not just thinking about work.
  • Try and spend a day at home before going back to work (if your holiday allowance can handle it!). This will give you time to get some rest, tidy away your things and do the laundry – the things you would otherwise have to do after work.
  • Bring back a souvenir to keep on your desk to remind you of your holiday. I have a lucky cat that I brought back from Japan, and it brings back so many lovely memories every time I look at it.
  • Remember your holiday memories with happiness that you experienced them, not sadness that they’re gone.


Even though going back to work can be tough, it won’t kill you – it just means you’re one day closer to your next adventure! But, with these tips, it will be easier than ever.

How do you survive your first day back at work? Do you have any other tips to share?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *