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Back to Work: Five Tips to Overcome the Post-Holiday Office Blues

Back to Work: Five Tips to Overcome the Post-Holiday Office Blues

Summer’s end is around the corner and, for most, beach vacations and family travels are over. Heading back to work after the joyful highs of the holidays can lead, however, to what’s known as the post-holiday blues, causing low energy, increased anxiety, lack of focus, and overall unhappiness at work.

If these symptoms sound familiar, you’re not alone. One BBC survey found that 76% of British workers reported experiencing such post-holiday blues upon returning to work after their summer vacations. To beat the back-to-work blues and regain focus and a positive outlook at work, read and reflect on these five tips.

1) Remind yourself about the big-picture and focus on defining (or re-defining) your WHY.

Simon Sinek, author of Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, suggests that workers constantly remind themselves of WHY they get out of bed every morning.

What is your purpose for what you do? Furthermore, he says, you should “keep [your] WHY clear, year after year.” Returning to work after the holidays is a great occasion for such clarity.

[Related: Back to Basics: Do You Know Your Mission and Vision?]

2) Reconnect at work.

Make an effort to build valuable relationships with co-workers and customers. Perhaps you could try new cuisines on lunch breaks with co-workers or work together to get involved in the community through volunteering or fundraising.

These positive connections and activities will help you see work in a positive light.

3) Use your fresh creativity to make changes for the better.

If you can, take on new work projects or explore ways to get tasks done more efficiently. Self-assigned challenges like these make for great motivation for productivity and improving focus.

[Related: The One Thing You Can Do To Boss Up At Work]

4) Make time for self-care.

Scheduling in lunch, exercise sessions, or walks in nature with friends are good pick-me-up methods to counter the post-holiday blues. It’s extremely important to your mental health to keep a balance between work, family responsibilities, and taking care of yourself.

5) Live in the now.

Instead of dwelling on how much better it would be to still be on vacation, accept that the holiday is over and that wonderful memories were made. By focusing on your present and future career goals, you’ll be living in the now and not in the past.

Although a majority of workers experience back-to-work blues, not everyone will understand how you feel. You may not find sympathy from everyone you share your feelings with, and they may even further contribute to a negative perception of your work life. However, that doesn’t make your distress less valid. So, confide in those you’re close to and understand that no matter what, you’re justified in how you feel.

Fortunately, post-holiday distress is typically short-lived and followed by the excitement of planning yet another upcoming holiday or vacation. In the meantime, remember that your feelings about going back to work are valid, and that these are the critical times to reinstate your purpose and WHY you’re returning to work, take up self-assigned work challenges to help you feel motivated and productive, and reconnect with work associates that make you feel good to be there. And don’t forget to take time for yourself!

If you follow these tips upon returning to work after the holidays, you’ll quickly pull through those post-holiday blues.

[Related: How to Take Back Control of Your Life for a Happy Career and Balanced Lifestyle]

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Franziska Alesso-Bendisch, Ph. D. is the Founder of Well Work Solutions, an employee performance and wellbeing consultancy that helps companies create work environments that enable people to thrive.


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