10 Tips to Survive Going Back to Work After a Holiday

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Going back to work after a nice holiday will always make you feel sad. It’s been scientifically proven that getting back into our routine can lead to sluggishness and demotivation. Of course, this has a lot to do with the fact that we tend to keep irregular hours when we don’t work, but it’s hard to stick to your schedule when you don’t have to go to the office every day?

To help you out I’ve put together a list of tips that can help you deal with the post-holiday blues and maintain your work life balance.

1. Embrace the Blues

Everybody hates it when their holidays end. It’s one of the worst feelings in an adult’s life because it essentially means that you need to put yourself back into a little box. The first step to dealing with this rather grey mood is to embrace it. Understand that it’s okay to feel sad and accept that the first couple of days back in your daily routine will be difficult. Even if you’re the sort of person who’s all about positive vibes, it’s okay to let your return to work affect you negatively.

2. Prioritise Your Tasks

You will probably have too much work to catch up on on the first day. So the key is to prioritise. Spend a good chunk of your morning figuring out what’s urgent and what’s not and get the most urgent tasks finished out of the way. I would advise throwing in a few tasks you enjoy doing as well because this will give you nice little breaks and make your day more enjoyable.

3. Dedicate the Previous Night to Your Inbox

The bane of everyone’s existence; their work email. Just thinking about all the unread emails you have probably gives you anxiety. To make it easier, I’d suggest that you spend a couple of hours the previous night catching up on emails. Keep the ones that you need to look at/respond unread or star them; this way you’ll get a head start and will avoid starting your day off on the wrong foot.

4. Get to the Office Earlier than Usual

No, I’m not mad, there are some good reasons to do this. The first is that leaving home earlier will help you avoid the anxiety that often goes hand in hand with commuting. If you drive to work, you’ll be able to beat the traffic which is always a perk – even more so when you’re dealing with the post-holiday blues.

The second reason is that you get some quiet time in the office. You will be able to make your coffee, tidy your desk and get everything in order.

5. Prepare for Work the Night Before

Don’t get stressed and run around like a crazy person in the morning, do a little planning the night before. Decide what you want to wear and make sure that it’s clean and pressed. Find everything you need for work including, purse, bag, keys, passes, etc. You wouldn’t want to get to work early and realise that you don’t have your clock-in dongle with you.

6. Set New Goals

Whether you’re going back to work after Christmas or summer, it’s always important to go back into the workplace with new goals. The only way to keep from getting bored at work is if we have something new to learn and therefore, you need to walk back into the office with a new mindset. Identify an area in your sector that you’d like to master and go back to work knowing that you have a challenge ahead of you.

7. Wear Clothes You Like

Another tip that will help you survive going back to work is to wear something you feel good in. That could mean wearing something you’re comfortable in - which is especially important after the Christmas holidays when you need to brave the cold of winter to get to work - or wearing a fancy summer dress that shows off your tan. Whatever your choice, the important thing is that you give yourself a nice little boost of confidence which will help you feel more energetic and prepared to take on any challenges that lie ahead.

8. Make Plans for Lunch

Avoid being stuck in the office for the entire day as this will make you feel like a zombie by three o’clock. Breaks are especially important when going back to work after an absence as they help revitalise the brain. Rather than eating a tasteless chicken salad in front of your computer, take an adventure outside the office.

Make lunch plans with your work friends or even your boss because this will give you something to look forward to the whole morning. Also, once there, don’t think of cutting back the calories, go all out and get dessert as well as this will - and I assure you about this - be the highlight of your day.

9. Listen to Music

Perhaps the most effective tip to help you fight the sluggishness you’ll feel on your first day back to work is to listen to music. Of course, to reap the benefits of this tip, you’ll need to find a playlist that you enjoy and is not too loud to distract you either. The key is to listen to music that keeps you from falling asleep at your desk but also helps you concentrate enough to be able to do your work.

10. Catch Up With Your Colleagues

No doubt you’d rather be spending your entire day with your friends rather than your colleagues. But, as getting along with your colleagues can significantly improve your overall work experience, it’s advisable that you do what you can do get along with them.

When you get back to work after holidays make an effort to speak to everyone and ask them what happened while you were gone - if there’s any news or changes etc. If you have some friends at work spend some time at their desks and tell them about your holidays. Simply talking to someone can help improve your first day back.


Going back to work after holidays can be very difficult. Most people get what is known as the post- holiday blues, while others suffer from anxiety at the thought of having to return to their work. However, these tips will help make your transition back to work much smoother.

Do you have any other tips that should be included on this list? Let me know in the comment section below.

This article was originally published in August 2013.