Back-To-Work Blues

Jan 02, 2015 1 Min Read

Photo credit (above): arvind grover | Flickr


Ways to springboard into action

Alice is back home after a three-week vacation. As the communications manager for a leading automobile company, one would think that she would be busy picking out her office wear for the next day, raring to head back to work.

In reality, however, Alice feels even more lethargic than ever and is dreading work. The mere thought of going through her inbox, probably filled with hundreds of messages, makes her want to jump into a plane and go on another vacation.

Alice may be going through the back-to-work blues.

How many of us experience this after a long holiday? Before taking a much-needed break, we say that we will come back to work fit, re-energised and ready to take on a whole new load of tasks.

But, as soon as the plane touches down, we cringe in dismay at the notion of going back to the office. All the enthusiasm of tackling work with vigour has flown out the window.

Facing the blues

According to Barbara Griffin, a senior lecturer at Macquarie University, these blues are linked to sadness that the entertaining activities are about to end as well as changes in food and sleeping patterns during vacations.

“How we cope with our return to work, and how quickly the benefits of holidays ‘fade out’, could be linked to what we did with our time off. In the short-term, the effect of holidays does tend to wear off after three weeks to a month. The fade-out effects are quicker if we face a lot of work when we get back,” she says.

So how do we bounce back to work without feeling fatigue?

Helpful tips

Here are a few steps that you can adopt to ease yourself back to your work routine.

  • Communicate before going back to work
    You may have taken a long holiday and might have lost touch with the happenings in the office. Once you are back from your getaway, call up your colleagues to get a heads-up on the latest at work.Update yourself with recent work-related matters to ensure that you are not lost and unaware of current projects and dealings at the office.
  • Prepare yourself well
    Once back, don’t jump straight into work. Make sure you have taken a day off to rejuvenate yourself from your holiday.

    Use this day to rest well and update your top priority tasks and goals lists.Once you are clear of what you need to accomplish, you can step right into business with a clear mind.

  • Take on new assignments
    For some, a long absence from work can dampen their zeal to take on challenges and to be innovative and creative.To get into that cycle again, take on a new project as soon as you are back. Having something new to do will get your brain working.Your relaxed and rejuvenated mind will be able to churn out ideas that will increase productivity, whilst steering you towards getting immersed into your working mode.
  • Touch base with clients
    So, it’s your first day back at work. Don’t tackle a stack of paperwork or attempt to clear about 600 emails.That is going to drain you and make you wish you never came back. Use this day to meet up with clients for lunch or tea.

    Get enlightened on the happenings on their end, ask of their well-being and share your holiday stories with them.
    By leveraging on this human factor, you will enjoy being back at work.These conversations might even produce significant business venture ideas and thoughts that will increase productivity in your ongoing job role.

In summary

Taking a good holiday to bring that spark back into your life is good.

However, it is also important to have that same zest when you come back to work after a much-needed break.

Coming back with positivity and enthusiasm is a boost towards dynamic developments in one’s career.

Take a break

Do you remember the last time you went on a holiday?

If you answered no, then it’s high time you took one.

A month, a week or even a weekend spent away from your daily routine can work wonders for you and here is how it works:

  1. Decreases stress and increases productivity
    On a vacation, you are far away from your daily routine and your mind roams freely, enabling you to think about things that have been at the back of your mind for a long time.

    It’s time to spring clean the mind by removing excessive, unnecessary things and giving room for bright, new thoughts.This automatically, reduces stress and increases productivity, as no analytical thinking is required here.

    You are free to let your thoughts flow and these moments are the ones that have been known to generate creative and productive ideas.

  2. Gives you a fresh outlook
    Being in a new surrounding with a fresh breath can help create a new perspective for your train of thoughts.A rejuvenated mind comes up with new outlooks and sometimes, that may help settle an important issue, which you have been tackling, from a different angle.

    This new perspective that you may have adopted may be something valuable that can be practised in your daily routine for a better life as well.

  3. Keeps you healthy and happy
    A study conducted by the Department of Psychology in the State University of New York, Oswego, the United States on 13,000 middle-aged men at risk for heart disease, showed that those who skipped vacations for five consecutive years were found to be 30% more likely to suffer heart attacks than those who took at least one week off each year.

    Meanwhile, the Framingham Heart Study states that women who took a vacation once every six years or less were almost eight times more likely to develop coronary heart disease than those who took at least two vacations a year.

So, my friends, you should get on the move to book your next vacation.

Prema enjoys going on vacations, at least once a year because she believes that the cool, relaxed setting and the experience gained will help her in reassessing herself and setting new goals. Leave your comments in the box provided.


Published in English daily The Star, Malaysia, 3 January 2015

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Prema was a team lead at Leaderonomics Digital. As a travel enthusiast who loves connecting with people from all walks of life, Prema believes that everything thrown to us by life enhances our development.

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