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How to Handle Holiday Blues

Holidays and travel allow us to escape the working world’s stresses and explore other passions but returning to reality after experiencing so much freedom can be difficult.  

Post-holiday blues are a normal response to leaving behind your fun-filled and carefree holiday life. The phenomenon can happen following a vacation, around the festive season and after any long breaks from work.  

If your concerns about returning to work are based largely on the desire to stay sitting by the pool for a little longer, the chances are you’re just experiencing post-holiday blues. It’s extremely common to feel down when returning to work.  

The good news is, if you’re still relatively happy in your role, your post-holiday sadness will dissipate with time. You can speed up the process by: 

1. Setting some goals 

Start establishing goals while returning to work to keep your mind focused and get you moving towards positive outcomes. Look at your career plan and where you were heading before your holiday. If you were thinking of pursuing a promotion in your company, begin planning steps for how you can prove yourself to your employers.  

Establishing your priorities and objectives will take your mind off any negative post-holiday feelings and give you a sense of empowerment as you dive back into your career.  

2. Adjusting your mindset 

Sometimes it’s hard to snap out of your post-holiday blues when you’re constantly reminiscing about your vacation and how “free” you felt outside work. A good way to flip the script is to start focusing on what you enjoy about your role. Remind yourself of the things you look forward to when you’re at work, whether connecting with colleagues or delighting clients.  

Reflect on your recent achievements and remind yourself how good it feels to accomplish your career goals. You could even ask your manager if there are any opportunities to take on more of the work you enjoy after your vacation.  

3. Preparing for next time 

If you’re experiencing holiday blues, it’s worth prepping yourself for the potential of it happening again. Start by ensuring you have all the tasks you need to do before you go away tied up and completed. This ensures you won’t rush to meet deadlines when you return.  

Where possible, you can also look into giving yourself a day or two to adjust when you get back from your vacation. Avoid packing your schedule with any complicated tasks when you get back into the swing of things. Focus on pursuing the tasks you enjoy and give yourself a little extra time to find your rhythm. You could even ask to work remotely for a few days when you return if this will make you feel more comfortable. 

If you decide post-holiday blues aren’t the cause of your workplace issues, then you have a few options. You can consider speaking to your manager about ways to make your role more appealing. For instance, maybe you can change your schedule or explore the potential of hybrid and remote work. 

If you’re still struggling with workplace blues in the long run, chances are you’re not the only one. From here, the best course of action may be requesting more investment in mental health and employee wellbeing at work. 

Click the button below for AAI’s top tips on how to address mental health and wellness in your organisation. 

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