The holidays are a fun time to share gifts, visit with friends and family, take a break from work, and, hopefully, relax. The trouble is that they are over fairly quickly. And once those vacation days are over, people return to their regular routines, which now seem dull.
The biggest difficulty in getting back to the daily grind is seeing the rewards and joy in what we do every day. “Otherwise the contrast between ‘shiny holiday’ and ‘drab everyday life’ can be daunting if we think about it that way,” said Ashley Sanford, a Houston psychologist who specializes in trauma, stress, and depression.
People underestimate how exhausting even happy holidays are and how much rest we need to recover, Sanford said. “The vacation hangover is real.” Don’t expect to be 100% productive on your first day back from vacation. Once people get some rest the weekend after the first week back, the fatigue eases up significantly, she added.
Be aware of the signs that you may be overworked or overstressed. These include uncharacteristically negative thoughts and feelings, as well as not finding time for or no longer looking forward to things you used to enjoy, according to Sanford. “Burnout is a serious issue and can lead to severe depression and even suicidal ideation if left unaddressed and untreated,” she said. Some of the physical symptoms include heart palpitations, gastrointestinal issues, and excessive weight loss or gain.
But you don’t have to experience any of these. With some effort and a few tricks you can make it through that stressful transition period at work right after the holidays and prevent it from dragging out.
24/7 Wall St. consulted three psychologists who shared their recommendations for getting over the post-holiday blues and regaining focus at work.