All of us get those back-to-work, holiday blues… and they suck!
It really doesn’t matter how much you ‘love your job’ (and I’d like to count myself as one of the lucky ones) you’re still probably going to have to face that back-to-work dread!
I’m sure that there are a fair few teachers out there this week, suffering from just that – let’s be honest – it must be pretty darn difficult to set those alarms again after 6 whole weeks?
This week, we’ve been asking friends, colleagues, clients and candidates what they think are the worst things about the post-holiday blues – and getting some advice on how to combat them.
1. The general shock.
“Time flies when you’re having fun” – who on earth came up with this cruel rule?
The very moment you realise that you’ve adapted to full-blown, chilled-out, having-a-great-time “holiday mode,” it seems that you’re rudely whipped back to reality.
My advice: Cheer up! You get to see all of your lovely colleagues and if that isn’t enough, plan something (other than unpacking) for your evening, so that you have something fun to look forward to during the day.
2. The return of the multi-stage alarm system.
How did I ever get up this early before? Why is that alarm clock so annoying… have I changed the volume? It’s so loud! Perhaps I should just call in sick? Sound familiar?
I personally end up putting on a back-up alarm… and a back-up of the back-up alarm, just in case my befuddled holiday brain gets the better of me!
My advice: Firstly, you’re not going to get away with pulling a sickie on your first day back after a holiday. Suck it up and face the music; putting it off is only going to prolong the post-holiday dread.
3. Food and drink withdrawals.
If you like food (and drink) then you probably allowed yourself to slightly overdo it whilst on holiday?
A big, tasty, prolonged breakfast ritual, lunch and dinner spent tasting the local cuisine and a variety of alcoholic beverages that are pretty much acceptable from the moment you wake up…
But now, you’re faced with a boring, rushed breakfast (probably cereal or fruit) a ‘healthy’ lunch (sandwich, salad, baked potato) and goodness knows what you’ll have for dinner, but it certainly won’t be delicious fruits de mar and an ice-cream pudding!
You realise that it’s time to detox, but it’s so bloody boring.
My advice: don’t rush into the post-holiday detox – just take baby-steps – allowing yourself some time to adjust to the shock of being back at work.
PS. When you are ready to start that detox, check out our recent blog post – 8 Superfoods to Supercharge Your Brainpower – to discover some great natural ways to boost your productivity and weight loss.
4. When no one mentions your tan.
I don’t tan. I do go slightly (or horrifically) red and then start peeling…
Long ago, I gave up on sun-filled hours, bathing in my own sweat in the hope that someone, on return to the UK, would compliment my glowing complexion.
It’s time you did too.
My advice: either fake-bake or get over it! Bask in your own pale beauty.
PS. For those of you who do tan… try not to rub it in.
5. When someone else’s holiday is looming!
Admit it, you probably did gloat (just a little bit) just before it was your turn to go away – right?
There’s nothing worse than returning from a holiday to a string of colleagues, (loudly) getting excited about their own.
Play it cool and try not to show that you’re jealous… it will spur them on (human beings are evil).
My advice: if possible, book your holiday after everyone else’s! Simple.
On reflection, I think ‘bragging about upcoming holidays’ should be added to our list of “The 50 Most Annoying Office Habits.”
6. Facing your inbox.
If you have a customer-facing role then you’ll definitely recognise the absolute dread of opening up your inbox for the first time after a holiday.
(Unless you’re like me and can’t help but check your emails whilst you’re away).
Your first morning (or even day) will probably be spent on the ‘great purge…’ followed by a manic attempt to reply to everyone asap. Productive.
My advice: I like Kathryn Dill’s approach to this problem. Don’t delete your ‘out-of-office’ message straightaway (or let customers know exactly when you’re back). Give yourself time to catch up, before facing the barrage of incoming inquiries.
7. Wearing clothes.
When you go on holiday (in a hot climate) you get used to wearing liberating, minimal clothes like flip-flops, shorts and swimwear and the feeling of fresh air (as well as the sun) against your skin can be so fulfilling.
Of course, the first time you pop your office attire back on, especially if it’s a suit, can feel completely unnatural and restrictive.
My advice: We still have a couple of weeks of sunshine left… right? So take advantage of the weekends and remember, when winter does arrive, you’ll be glad of that blazer!
8. The commute.
The worst (and unluckily first) thing we have to deal with on the first day back to work is the dreaded commute.
Whether your drive is sabotaged by long queues, annoying pedestrians, cyclists and terrible motorists or you’re an unlucky public transport user who has to deal with annoying fellow-passengers (who seem to be plagued with bad habits)… getting back to the commute is not easy.
My advice: take advantage. Listen to an audio tape, learn a language, purge your emails… there are tons of productive things that you could be doing with that time.
9. Feeling clueless.
What exactly is my job again? Where was I up to? What’s this new project? ARGH!
Returning to the office can actually be pretty intimidating. Everyone else is still in work-mode, completely on the ball and up-to-scratch, yet you can barely remember what you’re supposed to be doing, let alone where to start.
In some offices, (usually filled with nasty co-workers, like this lot) you can end up feeling quite ostracized as you try to catch up!
My advice: before your holiday, jot down some notes, detailing where you’re up to, jobs that need to be done when you’re back and any other important bits of information. Read through them the night before work to mentally prepare yourself to arrive confident and ready for a day’s work.
10. Having nothing to look forward to!
Possibly the most depressing thing about returning to the office is the feeling that you’ve got nothing else to look forward to (for a while).
Having something to aim for and look forward to genuinely does motivate and inspire us, making us much happier human beings!
Is this the way you’re feeling right now?
Don’t frown… Christmas will come around MUCH sooner than you think!
My advice: to avoid this dread, I like to spread my holidays evenly throughout the year (I count Christmas as one of them) then you always have something to look forward to and it means, as soon as you arrive back from one holiday, you can start planning the next!
If you’d like more advice on ‘how to always have something to look forward to’, check out this post on wikiHow.
Look forward, not back!
During that first day back at work, it may feel like you’ll never, ever be able to recover.
But do not fear! You’ll soon get back into the swing of things.
Recruiter Pro Tip (for managers).
As you’ll know yourself, getting back into the groove after having some time off work can be stressful but to get the most out of your staff, you really do need them to be happy, engaged and genuinely care about you and the business.
Check out this article from CITY A.M for some top tips on curing your employees’ post-holiday blues.
And remember! Christmas really is just around the corner!
Happy Friday!- Mark Wilkinson