9 tips (plus a bonus one!) to avoid post-holiday syndrome

It is thought that a third of workers suffer from post-holiday syndrome when they go back to work after their summer holidays. The thing is that going back to the daily grind after having enjoyed several weeks of relaxation can be a bit depressing. So let’s take a look at some tips which can help us to endure it.

Before you go back to work:

1- Come home a few days beforehand to acclimatise. We all want to get the most out of our holidays and so we try to stretch them out as long as possible, but this is counter-productive, because on the first day of work, you’ll be tired from travelling, still in holiday mode, with the suitcase still unpacked, etc. It’s better to return a few days earlier to get used to your normal routine again before going back to work.

Come home a few days before

2- Start getting up earlier to get used to the schedule. I know, it’s a drag. But believe me, it’s better than going to work deathly tired on your first day back.

3- Enjoy being back home. As much as you love being on holiday, surely at one time or another you started to feel the urge to go home and get back to some of your daily routines, so don’t see going home as a punishment. Enjoy your house and do things you like, especially if they’re also productive tasks such as unpacking your suitcase, cleaning, doing the food shopping, cooking, etc. This means that you won’t have to do these chores during your first few days back at work and you can spend time on more enjoyable activities to compensate for the trauma involved in  going back to work.

Enjoy being back home


3- Think positive.  There must be somethi

ng you like about your work; having coffee and a laugh with your colleagues, the new guy/girl in Human Resources, or getting away from your kids for a few hours (you love them a lot but they do your head in sometimes). There must be one positive! Find it and focus on that. If you don’t find it, I’m sorry to tell you that you don’t have post-holiday syndrome. The issue is that you hate your job. Perhaps it would be better to stop reading and to start looking for a new one. 😜

Once you’re back at work:

4- Focus on what really matters. When you come home from your holidays, there’s sure to be ton of work piled up, two hundred unanswered e-mails and before you’ve even had a chance to sit down, they’re already overwhelming you with loads of things you need to do NOW because they’re behind schedule. Try to prioritise, but don’t get overwhelmed. Think that if things have been like this for two weeks, they can surely wait one more day.  😉

5- Try to be efficient. What you really feel like doing on the first day is to laze around and do as little as possible. It’s hard enough to have to get up early and go to the office as it is! But the feeling of returning home with your work done well and the task finished is much more gratifying than having put it off and thinking, “Oh no, I’ve got nothing done…I’ll have so much to do tomorrow!” Believe me, it’s always better to get home having crossed something important off your to-do list.

6- Meet up with friends. Maybe in winter, you just want to get home and stretch out on the sofa after a long day’s work. But it’s summer, the weather’s good, many of your friends are probably on holiday, have a shorter work day…or maybe they just have the same lack of motivation to go back to their daily routine as you. Make the most of the situation by arranging to meet up and have a beer. If you get home in a good mood because you’ve had a nice afternoon with your friends, you’ll think less about the day of work that awaits you.


7- Sleep well. If going to work is hard enough in itself, having to get through eight hours while exhausted might be criminal. Try to go to bed early and if you find it hard to sleep, drink a relaxing herbal tea, which should help you sleep. (Note: If you went out for a beer with your friends as suggested in the previous point and you get home more than a bit tipsy, you probably won’t really need the herbal tea😉)

8- Keep up some sort of ‘holiday’ activity. Suddenly going from spending whole days relaxing to having to go to work every day would be enough to make anyone depressed. Try to keep up with an activity you like at the end of the working day so your days are less monotonous. Go swimming if your schedule allows, for an evening bike ride, to the cinema, to that new restaurant, etc. Anything to make you feel that each day isn’t exactly the same as the last.

9- Organise a getaway. Knowing that it will be 3 months before you can go somewhere again can make you lose the will to live. Organise a short getaway for those first few weekends after you go back to your normal routine. The week will be more bearable if you break out of the monotony. It doesn’t need to be a big plan and you don’t need to go very far. Surely there’s a beautiful place you’ve never visited near your city, under an hour’s drive away, which is well worth a day trip.

Finally, if all else fails, there’s a more drastic, but completely effective method which will help you to face going back to work in a much better mood. The trick is to spend two days at your mother-in-law’s house, or with that pedantic cousin you hate, or the friend who has five children and three dogs. And you’ll see how quickly you suddenly want to go home, to the office or anywhere!

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