5 Tips to Keep That Holiday Feeling!

Many of you will have been lucky enough to have had a summer break and returned to work feeling refreshed and renewed. But for so many of us that feeling fades all too quickly when we return to work. How many times have you heard someone say “I’ve only been back a few days and it now feels like I was never on holiday?”

Research Into ‘Post Holiday Syndrome’

Psychologists at the University of Granada have undertaken some research into this common experience. They describe that sinking feeling we can experience as we settle back into our normal life, as “Post Holiday Syndrome“. Ms Robles Ortega, a psychologist from the University of Granada, warns that getting back into a routine can cause us both physical and psychological symptoms.

Symptoms of Post Holiday Syndrome

“Usually, when the post-holiday syndrome causes physical symptoms, it is nothing but the physical expression of psychological unease”, she states. Tiredness, lack of appetite and concentration, drowsiness or sleeplessness, an abnormally rapid heartbeat and muscular ache are just some of the physical symptoms of this syndrome. They also include irritability, anxiety, sadness, couldn’t-care-less attitude and a deep feeling of emptiness.

However, that is at one end of the spectrum; most of us will maybe just find it hard to get ourselves motivated again and take longer than usual to complete day to day tasks, particularly if we have taken a longer break than two weeks. The remedies they suggest seem like good ideas so here are five tips to keep Post Holiday Syndrome at bay!

Build in a buffer

Try and build in a buffer of a few days before you return to work. The psychologists suggest building in a period of “re-entry” between holiday and work. This will give you space to break any habits like afternoon siestas, going to bed at 3am, eating exotic foods, drinking copiously of the local wine, and generally having no routine whatsoever.

Change your holiday pattern

If you suffer from some of the symptoms described, think about taking several shorter holidays rather than a single long one. This tricks you into feeling you’ve had more holiday in total, and the post-holiday change feels less radical and permanent (although watch out for your carbon footprint).

Get out more!

Holidays are sociable, but back at home it might be TV dinners and collapsing on the couch after work. Psychological studies show that those with an active social life and a sense of community are happiest. So think about how you spend your out of work time; maybe become a volunteer, take up a new sport, join a club. Let the Olympic Games inspire you!

Discover the great outdoors

Often, one of the feel-good elements of holidays is being outdoors more than usual. Exercise produces endorphins and sunlight can improve your mood. Try to walk or cycle to work sometimes, take a stroll and get some air in your lunch hour or the evening, buy a dog, plant bulbs – whatever it takes to get you outside.

Work out why

As a coach I tend to get a surge of post holiday calls when people just feel out of sorts with everything and nothing. One of my suggestions is to try and be specific about what is bothering you. It can help to write a list of the main issues. Sometimes just getting it down helps; don’t overwhelm yourself though and try to tackle everything at once. Pick one thing and really apply yourself to making it better.

And if you’ve done all that and life still seems unsatisfactory then maybe it is a great opportunity to think about some other changes in your life!

Photo Credit: Natalia Anna Kozlowska


Posted on July 10th, 2009 by

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