In this article you will find some practical advice so that managers and professionals can quickly and easily adapt to the dynamics of vacations.

Prevent lounger depression

At the beginning of this century, doctors at the Wagner-Jauregg Austrian psychiatric clinic discovered the incidence of deckchair depression or vacation stress. This is an increasingly common phenomenon. It manifests itself in the form of anxiety, trouble sleeping, or a feeling of sadness or demotivation when you start your vacation. Some studies show that up to 34% of employees suffer from these symptoms.

That “low” can come from having set unrealistic goals and too many expectations with the holidays: I will travel, I will play sports, I will go out to dinner, I will meet friends that I have not seen for a long time, too many things in such a short time… But the most common is that its cause is based on having had a frantic pace at work in the previous months, without having kept the due rest, and trying to recover the leisure not enjoyed in the previous eleven months. In this regard, the month of July is paradigmatic: Don’t you have the feeling that each year the dynamics of companies are more and more like that of a school year? It seems the month of final exams. And when we go on vacation, if we do it in August, we fall into another stress, the vacation.

What can I do before starting my vacation?

We have to take into account that the holidays start one week before the date you leave the office. The magic word is anticipation. Let’s see some tips:

Email management.

This is a fundamental element to avoid generating stress during your vacation. Don’t forget to activate the ‘away from office’ option in your office manager. For greater peace of mind, you can adapt the content of the message of the people who receive this email. But you have to be careful about giving too much information. My advice is that you do not put that you are on vacation (be careful with friends of other people, who can understand that you are away from home). You can include a contact person for urgent issues or, if you prefer, your mobile phone. In this second case, keep in mind that it is accessible to everyone who sends you an email (unless you click the option to send the absent from the office only to your contacts or people in the organization).

Mobile phone management.

One of the great slavery of the manager today is the need to meet the demands of our cell phone. To prevent it, you must prepare the status of your WhatsApp in the same way that you do with email, especially when it is a corporate device. I go from ‘available’ to ‘out of office’ or ‘urgent calls only’ (this comes in the drop-down, as the last option). You can adapt the message up to 139 characters, with the same requirements as in the email.

Schedule management.

Collaborative office automation allows outsiders to view the availability of your agenda. This tool is very useful during non-holiday periods, but during holidays it can cause errors. I prefer to block all the days of my vacations and thus avoid them.

Job management.

As I said, the month of July is difficult and in my case it ends with a large number of documents accumulated and not always in order. My last day at work is usually spent sorting or destroying those physical documents and tidying up virtual cloud storage space. My goal is that when I return from vacation I have a sense of order and cleanliness. To achieve this, I only leave a piece of paper on the table -actually now I do it in Google Keep- with the to-do list that I will have when I return from vacation.

What can I do during my vacation?

Congratulations, you’ve made it: you’re already on vacation!

According to a study by ESADE and Infojobs, 51% of the working population answers emails and calls during their vacations. That figure rises to 84% in the case of managers. And it is that most managers take a long time to ‘disconnect’ and advance the ‘connection’ days before the start of the new work period. This is a major mistake because, apart from losing hours of valuable leisure time, it prevents rest, activates stress and damages personal relationships with family and friends. I will give you some tips that have worked for me.

Email and mobile phone management.

If you are a responsible manager, pretending to totally disconnect from your profession on vacation is a chimera (and possibly irresponsibility). But on the other side of the scale, I know managers who can’t take their eyes off their phones on their days off. Those are the main candidates to suffer from the lounger syndrome.

Management of cultural consumption.

There are professionals with the same levels of Linkedin addiction as a teenager to Instagram. At this point in the 21st century, we have to differentiate between social networks of a professional nature and social networks of a personal nature. Also between professional content and personal content. In my case, I self-prohibit the generation of professional content in my rest period (warning, the ones you see are scheduled in advance).

When it comes to reading, my advice is to abandon readings on business or self-help topics. In summer I only read novels, which is what I like. To do this, I have compiled the most desired books since January and my job makes it difficult for me to decide between the two or three books that I will be able to consume in my three weeks off.

And most important of all: learn to rest. Live a vacation without stress, without self-demands and with high doses of realism about what you can really do in those few weeks.

What can I do in my reincorporation?

First of all, I want to warn you that the post-vacation syndrome does not start the first day of your return. Act a few days or weeks late. If you take the new course as if it were a sprint, probably in a couple of weeks you will feel tired, discouraged and lack energy. Be realistic, there are many months to go until your next extended break. You have before you a long-distance race…

I recommend that, to alleviate the dreaded post-vacation syndrome, you return home a couple of days before starting work. This will allow you to get used to the new routines, especially in what involves the schedule.

Once at work, spend the first few days reconnecting and adjusting to the new reality. For this, the three ‘s’ are very useful to me.


We are social animals, also at work. Devote some of your time to greeting and building emotional bridges with your collaborators. Try to show an interest in how they and their families have fared.


Think of those who are still on their vacation period. Avoid sending them emails with demands for their return. To respect the well-deserved digital disconnection of the team, I usually have their vacations noted in my calendar so I can schedule non-urgent emails for their return.


Start generating routines from minute zero. Start with the to-do list you left on the table the last day. And be very clear about the Eisenhower matrix from minute 0.

Start counting down the days until your next break. You will not realize it and you will already be planning your next vacation. In the meantime, focus on being productive and creating value for your company…and for your team.

Happy Holidays!

Ricardo Alfaro, July 2022.