One of the hardest moments of the year is approaching: the return from holidays. The summer season is the ideal time to travel, do some summer reading or, in general, disconnect from work. How can we stay motivated and be more productive when coming back? Returning to work after summer holidays is nothing short of a challenge, since after a period where schedules are relaxed and routines are gone, not everybody assumes the change the same way.

In some cases, this new year-like situation has an impact on productivity and motivation. The longing for those days off full of relax and leisure can affect individuals physically and emotionally. Hence, it’s possible to experience a certain degree of reluctance during the working hours, despite coming back with our batteries fully recharged. Or to live moments when concentrating on a certain task can be difficult. There may be even employees who feel somewhat stressed before the great expectations always created within companies at the beginning of a new business year.

Generally speaking, these sequels are not worrisome and disappear within a few days, when professionals are 100% dedicated again. There is, however, a more intense version of those effects: the so-called “post-vacation blues”, which is suffered by 4 out of 10 workers, according to a 2018 study by Adecco.

What is post-vacation blues about?

The Spanish psychology consultation firm Sian explains that post-vacation blues is “a maladaptive way to face coming back to work after vacation. It´s a temporary, light-hearted state where symptoms of anxiety and depression merge”. Nevertheless, these experts want to clarify that “it’s not a depression or an anxiety disorder, just a temporary, minor issue”.

The duration of post-vacation blues is, according to experts, between one and two weeks.

How to avoid post-vacation blues and make a strong comeback to work?

The best part is that anybody can return to work full of energy and motivation after summer holidays without fear of post-vacation blues. For that to happen, just follow the recommendations from experts in psychology, occupational health and HR below:

  1. Return home as soon as it’s possible, so that it won’t coincide with the day before retaking your duties.
  2. If it’s possible, do not return to work on Monday. Hence, your comeback will be smoother.
  3. During the first days, it’s advisable to go to bed early and get up earlier than usual: it helps restoring the sleep cycle, while providing some extra time in the morning to perform your professional duties unhurriedly.
  4. It also helps to be fully aware that work is another form of personal development, and the company a privileged place where to interact with other individuals who can contribute greatly to both personal and professional environments.
  5. Break some routines in your everyday work, without falling into chaos. According to Palao, “if you always do the same, you will always get the same results”. Experts concur, however, that routines contribute to structure individuals’ time while providing us with a sense of fulfilment.
  6. Make use of your emotional intelligence: smiling -even if it is a “telephone smile”- releases positive endorphins that make the return to daily professional duties more bearable.

And most importantly, think positive

There are very simple ways to generate the positive thinking needed after summer holidays. For instance, you can clean and arrange your office desk or plan pending tasks in advance.

It’s also advisable to schedule activities you feel gratified with all year round, like a language course, or any other course that may be of use for your professional career or simply provide you with sense of fulfilment. In fact, continuous training is a key factor for human capital.

In essence, it’s all about gestures and choices that serve as incentives and enhance motivation and productivity. Eating healthy and regular exercise work wonders to keep you more positive.

Lourdes López, manager of Spanish HR selection and training consultancy firm Selecciona2, summarizes the importance of positive thinking as follows: “don’t think about work as something negative. In fact, it is extremely important that you see your professional activity as something rewarding in your life. Remember that the key lies in your head and the way you approach things. Do not idealize your holidays so that you can adjust yourself back in `working mode’ as soon as possible”.

Sources: ABC, Tisoc, Muy Interesante, Clasifical and Selecciona2

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