Coming back to work is reeeally hard. I can tell you, I’ve been angry since Monday 13th January. Well, not angry, angry all the time, but since I came back there has been at least one day a week when I just can’t. With life. In general. And it’s been three weeks already! So I said to myself “It might be the right moment to find out how to beat post holiday blues …”. And I wanted to share with you all I have learned.
I hope this post doesn’t come to you too late. After all, as I said, it’s been three weeks for me but maybe four for the rest of you. I was lucky enough to stay in Spain until the 9th January, but especially because of that it’s been harder to start again. Maybe with the holidays happens the same as with your sleep: the longer the holiday, the more you want it to last!
In any case, this can help you at any moment in the year. Whether it is after the summer holidays, Easter or even your off-peak travel of the year: post holiday blues is always lurking.
Without further ado, here is how to beat post holiday blues
Know that is completely normal
First of all, relax. It’s absolutely normal to feel down, anxious or a bit depressed after a decent period of holidays. Researchers have found that the post holiday blues could be the result of stress hormone levels decreasing after an exciting (and sometimes, let’s face it, a bit stressful) period of time. Also, probably because we have grown believing that work is bad and holidays are fantastic, our brains are able to convince us that, no matter how bad holidays may have been, they were always a lot better than coming back to work.
But there are other factors influencing our mood after the holidays. Change of habits, less hours of sun or cooler temperatures (how is it not going to be depressing that I was at 20º C in Malaga and in Glasgow it was 7º C?), sugar and alcohol withdrawal…
I think this all sounds pretty reasonable. So maybe stop beating yourself up, because it’s not your fault that you are feeling a bit unhappy right now. There are lots of things going on in your body that you can’t really control. Take it easy…
Change your perspective
Yeah, going back to work can suck… But I’m sure there is something positive about it too! In my case (despite how much I complain on Mondays) I actually love my job. I enjoy socializing with my coworkers and it’s a creative work, which pays well, it’s relatively close and it doesn’t have me getting up at 6:30 am (I really appreciate that!).
Try to find a new angle for your thoughts. For example, if you are coming back to Uni or college, you will be seeing your friends again every day. If you are working, think of how you could grow in your role and achieve bigger goals – and if this doesn’t work, you can always focus on how you will be making money for your next holidays! More about this in the following points.
Don’t stop having fun
It’s easy to drown in our sorrows after the Season. After all, it’s probably the time of the year we are continuously surrounded by people (most of which we actually like… sometimes), we have time and excuses to indulge, we have time to do the things we have been postponing for months… The lights in the street, the fireplace at home!
But coming back from the holidays you find yourself having no time for anything again, and potentially spending more time by yourself. Plus, it’s cold and dark outside in the evenings: January is definitely not the best time of the year to do things and stuff in the outside world.
But that is not true. There are plenty of things you can keep doing, even if you have come back to work.
Schedule time to see those friends you didn’t get to see during the holidays. Dedicate at least one evening or one morning to enjoy your favourite hobby. Go to the cinema one night or join dance lessons. Cook a tasty recipe. Whatever makes you happy, find time to do it. Seriously. At least one hour or two a week. You will feel the difference.
Now this sounds a bit controversial for me, and I will tell you why. Despite the fact that I agree with the idea that planning your holidays (and pretty much anything, for that matter) is sometimes a hell of a lot better than actually going on holidays, you can get lost in your day-dreaming. I know I do.
The reality is that you are here, back to your routine. And while it is a good idea, and it can definitely lift your spirits, be careful with making plans. You will have to be aware of the difference between “planning” and “dreaming” – when you are planning, you are happy that something is going to happen in the FUTURE; when you are dreaming, you can become miserable because your dream is not real right now.
This said, making plans can make your days a lot more interesting. As I said, the idea of been able to save money for your future well-deserved holidays can be very suggestive. And if you are not one for improvisation, you would love how much time you are going to have to prepare your next vacation!
Finally, be kind to yourself
I feel like this is at the bottom of all my reflections, but it’s because I truly believe this makes us better. Life is already way too hard without us having to beat ourselves up. Exercising, smiling in front of a mirror (yeah, it really can help you!), drinking a hot chocolate or having a bath on a cold evening (although be careful with temperature of the water) can boost your energy levels or, at least, make you feel a bit better.
When in doubt, blame the hormones. That’s what I do, right before treating myself to some chocolate.
So these are my ideas on how to beat post holiday blues. Do you have any more tips, or are you a lucky one and don’t suffer from it? Let me know in the comments below!