"I'll need another vacation to recuperate from this journey home," I heard a husband tell his wife as I passed through U.S. Customs. Others within earshot nodded. Indeed it's not uncommon to find yourself more exhausted after a holiday than before it. Any rest built up during an idyllic vacation can be quickly wiped out by a tiring trip (lugging suitcases, navigating foreign airports, negotiating with cab drivers, waiting in lines, and agitated babies) home.
And the first days back in the office after a vacation are among the hardest of the year: You have to play catchup on all the e-mails and other important things you missed, while at the same time you're expected to slide back into regular work with more energy than before--irrespective of how jet lag is playing with your body clock. Of course you can't complain to co-workers as no one's going to give you sympathy because you're tired from your holiday.
The damage vacations do to work productivity doesn't stop there: There's also a variation of what is known as "summer learning loss." That's the term academics use to refer to the phenomenon of children returning to school after the summer at a lower academic level than when they left three months earlier.