The weeks after a holiday can sometimes seem a little bleak. There may be the prospect of long months ahead with no break to look forward to. If the holiday was amazing it may simply serve to highlight the contrast with the tough reality of day-to-day life at home. If the holiday was a disappointment it may serve to reinforce the sense of being stuck on a stressful treadmill.
To add to the mix did you know that post-holiday times are one of the busiest periods for divorce lawyers, second only to post-Christmas and New Year? Prolonged periods of time, like holidays, spent in each other's company can underscore how much we've grown apart from our partner, how little we're aware of what's happening in each other's lives.
Let's look at some positive ways to cope when you're struggling with post-holiday blues.
Many people find that they use some of their holiday to reflect on their quality of life, to consider the direction they're going in. They may reach valuable insights about their lives, start to appreciate what needs to happen to improve their situation at work or with family and friends, consider ways to really benefit their overall health and happiness. Might this be you, be why you're struggling with post-holiday blues?
- If you're unhappy with work could it be time to book an appointment with your boss or manager and discuss your career options. Ask for an appraisal to discuss the possibility of further training or of widening your experience by taking on a different role. Or you may feel it's time to reduce your hours to allow more opportunity to develop and focus on other interests and areas of your life.
Self-employed people can find holidays quite stressful due to concern at being out of touch with their customer base. Whilst away there can be a temptation to continually check on what's happening in the office, but holidays should be about spending quality time with loved ones, nurturing those relationships. Holidays often remind us how special those relationships are and how fragile they can become if neglected.
Post-holiday can be the perfect time to implement decisions about finishing work at a 'reasonable' time, taking regular breaks having discovered how much better you feel afterwards, and committing your energy effectively, rather than saying 'yes' to everything and spreading yourself too thinly.
- Family are an important part of our support structure and they deserve dedicated time and attention. Maintain the post-holiday ambiance by keeping in more regular touch once you're home. Aim to be there for family meals or children's bed time as often as possible. Look after your relationship with your partner by texting affectionately throughout the day and having real conversations, not just information exchanges whenever you can.
Someone I know who worked away all week used to commit to having dinner at home every Friday night with her husband. They showered, dressed nicely, set the table and discussed each other's weeks. It demonstrated that they valued their relationship and gave them time to reconnect and catch up with each other's news without distractions. It worked well for them. It's important to find effective ways to invest in your relationship.
- Friends may seem at times to expect too much from our friendship, but they know us well, help keep us grounded and are often a great source of comfort and advice. Maintaining these relationships matters, but over the years our priorities often change as partners, business interests and children come increasingly to the forefront of our minds.
Aim to diary your friends and see them regularly, even if it's only once a month. Holidays often remind us of the importance of fun and play and having friends is a good way to remind us to have fun as a regular part of our lives, as a great way to de-stress.
- And what about some 'me' time? Yes, spending time building the business, travelling to promote your brand can be very satisfying, but whilst on holiday you probably found time to read a book, walk miles along the sand, wander aimlessly around markets, eat a leisurely lunch, people watch for an hour over coffee or a glass of wine. Why not commit a little time to reconnect with yourself and do some of these things once you're home.
Evaluate how you spend your time. Calculate how much time you use productively. Do you waste time responding to situations in a haphazard or random way? There's no merit in appearing busy for the sake of it or delivering a panic response to situations.
Far better to take a break and read a book, listen to music, go for a walk and then return to work feeling energised and happy, having learned some valuable, long-term lessons from your holiday that you can implement. Introduce positive ways to manage stress and improve your day-to-day life, then post-holiday blues will be a thing of the past.