Post-holiday blues and how to beat them
Returning to work after enjoying a few days off can be a challenge. Here we explain how to handle it.
Lack of motivation, problems concentrating, feelings of inefficiency, irritability, laziness, fatigue, listlessness… These are the most common symptoms that some people suffer after returning to work after a few days off. It is important to clarify that what is popularly known as post-holiday blues is not a disease or an illness, but a transitory adaptive process that can last a couple of weeks at most.
To ease the transition between the freedom of being on holiday and the responsibilities of being at work, and to prevent feeling like returning to work is an insurmountable obstacle, Amalia Rubio, head of the SHA Wellness Clinic Energy Unit, recommends starting the day “by getting up a few minutes earlier than usual. This way, you’ll have time for a calm breakfast and to stretch or breathe consciously, which will help you reconnect with your body and the present moment and focus your attention on the here and now”.
The first few days, try to get to the office early so that you can adapt to the work environment without feeling rushed or stressed; it will also give you time to chat with colleagues and find out what has been going on while you were away. Amalia stresses that, at this point, prioritising tasks is essential: “You probably have hundreds of emails in your inbox and it’s impossible to answer them all. Start with the most urgent ones and leave the rest for later. It is also essential that you take the necessary breaks so that you don’t get stressed or exhausted and that you lower your level of self-imposed pressure a few notches. It’s important to understand that the adaptation process is progressive and that, little by little, you’ll get back to your maximum potential and performance. That’s why it’s a good idea to set small goals and go step by step, instead of trying to solve everything at once. And when the workday is over, don’t go straight home. Plan some leisure activity that makes you feel good and prolongs the positive feeling of being on holiday: go for a drink and catch up with family and friends, get some exercise, go to the cinema, read or spend time on your hobbies”.
Finally, Bruno Ribeiro, head of the Cognitive Development and Brain Stimulation Unit at SHA Wellness Clinic, highlights the importance of emotional symbolism. “If you bought a souvenir on holiday, such as a bracelet, a pendant or a piece of handicraft, keep it with you when you go back to work or put it in a visible place in your office. That way, every time you look at them, you will think about how much you enjoyed yourself and how much fun you had during your holiday, which will positively influence your mood”, he says.