Published January 14, 2015
It’s late Sunday night and suddenly you’re struck with an inexplicable bout of sadness. With Monday just around the corner, you soon realize that you’re suffering from a case of the ole back-to-work blues.
Whether you’ve just returned from holidays or are counting down the few remaining minutes of weekend freedom, if you’re feeling a bit blue about heading back to work, don’t worry — you’re not alone. Re-entering reality can be depressing, and it’s a phenomenon that psychologists are quite familiar with.
However, getting back to your daily grind doesn’t have to be depressing, not if you follow AM’s healthy tips on how to beat those pesky back-to-work blues.
Plan Your Next Vacation
Many of us experience a high on vacation. Whether it’s from all the adventure or the relaxation, vacations often bring sensations that our daily jobs do not. The best way to overcome those feelings of loss when you're trying to beat the back to work blues is to get right back to planning another vacation. Even if you’re just considering a short weekend getaway, you need something to look forward to. And don’t approach your planning in a half-ass way either. Real vacation planning can be stressful enough on its own. By beginning the process early and by doing it right, you’ll satiate that vacation hunger and save yourself from some stress in the future.
Beat the blues tip: Decorate your workspace with vacation memorabilia to keep your spirits high. Try a nice digital photo frame, a meaningful keepsake, a fun screen saver, or whatever else you need to give you a nice moment’s reflection.
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Nothing is quite as depressing as coming back to work on Monday only to find yourself sitting behind a messy desk, with piles of untouched work stacked miles high. To help beat those back-to-work blues, be sure to get organized. This means getting ahead of your work before you leave the office. If, however, it’s already too late, start by tidying your workspace the second you get back. Create a to-do list ranked by priority and, hopefully, with some prospective planning, you’ll have ensured that you have no major deadlines or meetings to look after once you get back. If it helps, have a coworker fill you in on what you’ve missed.
Beat the blues tip: Try to get a good night’s sleep the night before your return.
Beat the blues tip: Don’t forget your mental health either. If you get a chance, schedule some social physical activity to begin upon your return. Try meditation, ballroom dancing, group cycling, or indoor rock climbing.
Start a Project
Remember that secret pet project that you swore you’d start the second you had some time off? You do? Good. Well, do you remember how you never actually started it once you had that time off? Classic. As human beings, and males at that, we often comfort ourselves by listing all the things we’d achieve if only we had the time. If you’re feeling down at work, why not invigorate yourself with the prospects of a new pet project?
But this time, get real. Accept the fact that any project you attempt will require your spare time and full attention. Once you do, you might just be motivated enough to get things done.
Beat the blues tip: A pet project doesn’t have to be some grand invention. It could be as simple as learning a new skill, like woodworking or cooking or taking up a hobby like sculpting or skeet shooting — anything to give your life some spice.
Wave Work Woes Goodbye
If getting back to work has truly got you down, the worst thing you can do is drag your feet like a child and refuse to accept reality. If you’re like most of the working class, it’s likely that you depend on your career. If you’re truly feeling blue, it’s vital that you don’t procrastinate. The more you let your work pile up, the more difficult you make things for yourself down the road. Weekends and vacations are meant to serve as an escape, nothing more. If the idea of returning to work has got you so down that procrastination is all that keeps you sane, then it’s time to seriously consider a change of career. After all, sometimes it’s the job itself that’s giving you those back-to-work blues — and that’s no easy fix.
Focus on Your Health
If you’re anything like most men, chances are that you let yourself go a bit on your time off. Maybe it was the alcohol, the buffet dinners, the cigars, or the general lack of activity that’s set you back; whatever the reason, time off often translates into a hangover of sorts. In this case, beat those back-to-work blues by focusing on your health. Begin by fortifying your diet early with a nice serving of fresh fruit, whole grains and lots of water. A nice fruit smoothie could do wonders to kick-start your day.
Try to eat light and often throughout the first days of your return. You can also complement your diet by fortifying your physique with some trips to the gym. If you gave your body a break on your time off, start with light-weight resistance or easy aerobic exercises to get your body back on track.