Post Holiday Blues
The summer holiday season is over, you’re back at work and it seems like there’s nothing to look forward to for months and months. On top of all that the weather has begun to turn and the evenings are rapidly drawing in. Together it’s a recipe for the ‘post holiday blues.’
Of course, it’s quite normal to feel a little down or frustrated when you return to work. Back-to-work blues tend to be temporary. Still, being back at work can be difficult for many people: problems of having limited freedom and fitting in again with work relationships can lead to frustration.
Factors that commonly contribute to the blues tend to fall into three major categories:
- Psychological – Perhaps you promised yourself you’d keep a better perspective on work problems or not let work run your life, and you’re already struggling to stick to them. You may have unrealistic expectations of your job and colleagues and are feeling disappointed when those expectations fall short
- Financial – You may be worrying about paying forthe next round of expenses i.e Credit Cards & Christmas presents!!!
- Physical – Strains of journeying to work by car or standing on a packed train or bus, combined with a lack of exercise at work can leave you feeling fatigued. It’s possible that you gained weight on holiday from too much food and alcohol and it isn’t going to disappear over night.
All this can add a great deal of pressure to being back at work. So what can you do to keep some of the holiday spirit alive? Try these important strategies:
Acknowledge your feelings
If your work is very routine it’s normal to feel a bit down after a holiday. What is important is finding expression for your feelings. Turning frustration inwards will mean the blues will last longer and could have a significant effect on your own emotional and physical health and on those around you.
If you spent the holiday with family or friends, use them for social support. They can help you remember the good times you’ve had, reduce any feelings of isolation at work and share responsibilities at home.
Goals, although made in good faith, are often unrealistic and difficult to achieve. Don’t try to do everything at once -tackle one action at a time. It’s much better to be able to measure and reward your successes than trying to bounce back from disappointment.
Financial pressures at home can seriously affect how you feel at work. If you are worried about money and paying off credit cards, don’t pretend the pressures aren’t there. Instead, make a plan of how much money you can afford to pay off and the period you need to balance your accounts. Planning ahead will help you avoid tempting extravagances and help you feel more in charge of your life.
It doesn’t work for everyone, but many people find that planning their next holiday gives them something to look forward to. Perhaps a photograph of the resort or villa you’re planning to visit stuck up in your work area will help. Even if it isn’t another holiday, having an event or a treat planned can help give your work fresh purpose. Of course you shouldn’t take all the spontaneity out of your life, just enough to help you gain control of your circumstances.
With the work that tends to pile up whilst you’re away to deal with it is even more important that you plan some time to think and relax. If you don’t block the time out, it will get used up with other tasks and interruptions. Plenty of research shows that thinking-time increases your effectiveness and creativity at work. Taking a lunch break regularly and getting outside can help you maintain a sense of perspective of work hassles.
Don’t abandon healthy habits
Don’t let work pressures lead to you eating too many processed foods and ready-made meals. They often contain added sugar and salt, which aren’t good for your health when taken in excess. Work pressures can also lead you to skip meals and snack on sugary foods. If you must snack during the day try a piece of fruit. Many people feel fatigued at work because they get dehydrated, so try to drink eight glasses of water a day.
If the pressures are seriously too much
Sometimes a break from your work can help you realise that you really are overburdened and cannot succeed with work as it is. In this case, you need to identify the source of the problem. If it’s your failure to delegate, you must begin to involve others in making decisions and sharing responsibility. If it is the work itself, then you need to talk to your immediate boss, but have some of your own ideas for resolving the issues ready to contribute.
You will feel much better about work if you make sure you get plenty of sleep and some regular physical activity, such as walking for 30 minutes each day. Not only will exercise help get rid of any extra pounds you may have gained, it will give you extra stamina and energy to get through the day.