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Gorilla Jobs Blog Recruitment 101 Battling Return to Work Blues Man Sitting In front Of Sunset Water View

Recruitment 101: Battling Return to Work Blues

January 25, 2023 0 Comments

The new year has kicked off, holidays are behind you and it’s time to go back to work – so, how do you beat those return-to-work blues?

How quickly those consecutive days off over Christmas and New Year or the longer holiday break you took during that period seem to come to an end. And, before you know it, the first day back at work beckons.

Hopefully for most, the break has been restful, restorative and battery recharging, and for some the idea of getting back into work, especially with a new year ahead, can be exciting – you’re ready for it, so bring it on!

But…for others…as the hours and minutes tick down to your break being over, either a panicky feeling of anxiety and dread or a somewhat heavy, if not verging on miserable, feeling can threaten to overtake you, completely undoing all the good the break did.

If you fall into the latter group, here are 5 ways to beat the return to work blues.

1. Own it and plan ahead…at least a little

The mere act of acknowledging that you’re feeling not so great about heading back to work can be a good thing, without letting yourself completely wallow in it.

So, rather than push back against the fact, try and own that you’re not feeling so great about returning to work and start planning ways to manage both your feelings about it and the practical fact that it’s all about to ramp up again.

Being organised and planning ahead will help, even just a little. While you may have let life be a bit hectic and unplanned during your time off, and rightly so, put a little time into some basic organisation for your impending return to work.

Sort out your wardrobe, clean up, prepare lunches if that’s your thing and, if you can, look over the first few days in your work calendar to get your head around what lies ahead.

If you work from home, sort out your office space so it’s clean and fresh and feels like somewhere you (might) want to work again.

Thinking ahead like this might help shift your mindset, and while it does make the return to work even more inevitable, at least the thud of the first day might not be so hard.

2. Plan to ease into it, if you can

We may not all have the choice to ease into our first day back, especially if the office or workplace has been shut down for an extended period, but if you can avoid working yourself too hard for those first few days, do it.

Give yourself some time to read through the many emails in your inbox (and delete as many as you can that really don’t need your attention), don’t cram your calendar with too many client meetings or appointments (not always possible, unfortunately) and try to have some more social chats with your colleagues upon first returning.

Adjustment time like this means you can still carry a little of that holiday energy with you as you leave your break behind and re engage with work at a less frantic tempo.

Gorilla Jobs Blog Recruitment 101 Battling Return to Work Blues Man Holding His Forehead Worried
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels

3. Mix it up

Starting back at work after a break of any kind but particularly in a new year is a great time to mix it up a bit and make some kind of change to how you work or what you’re working on.

This can be as simple as looking at the shape of your work day and adjusting or completely changing your work routine.

Or it might be something more substantial like kicking off a new project or idea you’ve had on the backburner for a bit.

And, even if there is nothing much you can change straight up, take some time in those first few days to plan ahead for some change or to implement a new project, which will give you something fresh and new to look forward to, even as the reality of being back at work settles in.

4. Reconnect with your colleagues

Reconnecting with colleagues through those first few days after returning to work isn’t just about sharing holiday anecdotes.

As mentioned above, taking some moments to have social chats with your colleagues is a way to ease back into work and help each other manage the return to work blues because don’t forget – your colleagues are potentially feeling the same way as you about being back.

Which doesn’t mean turning it into a whinge fest either. Share what book you’re reading, show you’re streaming, some cool thing your kid did during the break or…where you’re planning to take your next break…see below!

5. Start planning your next break

Research shows that the shine from a holiday or break from work dims reasonably quickly, with one study revealing that people were back to their pre-vacation selves as quickly as 2-4 weeks after returning to work.

To combat this, starting to plan your next break – even just a long weekend that’s coming up due to a public holiday – can be enough to push back the return to work blues.

With so much travel information available at your fingertips online, lose yourself a little in the possibilities and in doing so, feel the not-too-distant next break that will hopefully help you remain positive about the future…and the work you have to do before that next break!

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