Life hacks to get over the back to work blues

Summer is the time for getting away, taking a blissful break from the daily grind to relax and rejuvenate. But when vacation is over, re-entry into your regular routine can be difficult. To help you beat off the back-to-work blues, we asked a few of our favorite designers, architects and creative types to share their preferred life hacks for holding on to that vacation high.



Isabelle Blase, a Bachelor of Arts architecture, Sales Agent, lighting designer, based in Frankfurt (Germany), advocates short breaks throughout the day to stay on track. “Just a few minutes to breathe and calm down from busy emailing and phone conversations,” she says. “It provides structure to your day and your work. And, of course, everyone needs a good coffee;)”

Susana Cots, a Barcelona-based interior designer, embraces the idea of a fresh start after vacation. “It’s like beginning a new year,” she says. “September is a creative month, a time when we’re more receptive to changes and can take advantage of our recharged batteries after the holidays to improve our lives.” To that end, one of her strategies is to make slight adjustments to her studio space and home—rearranging furniture and photos, books and plants. “This way,” she explains, “I start autumn—my favourite season—with a different perspective on things.

Niki Brantmark, who writes the interior design blog My Scandinavian Home from her adopted home in the Sweden, believes a well-organized space helps ease the transition. “On my first day back to work, I always start by de-cluttering my desk and office area to make it fresh and clean,” she explains. “I remove any ‘noise’ items that are unnecessary or don’t give me pleasure and add something that makes the space feel ready for the season.” For her, this typically includes a bit of greenery. “Plants are known for cleaning the air and making you happier—but nothing that requires a lot of watering! It feels great to wipe the slate clean and give yourself a fresh start.”

Misty Floro and Pai Edles ( @morfosis_ph), interior designers from Quezon City in the Philippines, have a secret weapon: Pizza, their 1-year-old English bulldog. “After a good vacation, we get over the back-to-work blues by bringing Pizza to work with us. He slobbers a lot, but he brings a big slice of joy to the office. Here he is taking over our work desk and our lives:)”

“How do I get back to a normal routine after falling asleep listening to the waves on the shore and waking to the soft summer breeze?” ponders Greta Arcila, founder and editor-in-chief of Glocal Design magazine, in Mexico DF. “It might seem like Mission Impossible XXI, but it can be done.”

When faced with reality, she believes the best approach is to embrace it “little by little, so the routine doesn’t destroy me.” Music is a key part of her coping strategy. Last year, when she was visiting the Habitat design fair in Valencia, Spain, she discovered the radio station M80. “I fell in love with it,” she says. “The best part is that the time difference between Spain and Mexico means I can listen to current affairs accompanied by music of the 1980s and ’90s—I’m a Gen X’er, I can’t help it.”

When Greta arrives at the office, she immediately turns on her computer and opens her ITunes looking for classical music so she can concentrate. “And suddenly I realise that I’m back into my routine, ready to go to the gym to lose some of the weight I gained during my dreamy days off when calories didn’t mean a thing.


We want to hear from you: What are your tried-and-true tips for getting back into the swing of things when summer vacation is over?