Keep that holiday feeling throughout 2013
Has the return to work got you feeling down in the dumps? Don't worry, advises QUT psychology lecturer Associate Professor Robert Schweitzer, your reaction is perfectly normal.
Professor Schweitzer said while people are on holidays they feel a greater sense of control over their lives often "doing what we like when we like".
"That might be reading a book, listening to music, socialising with family and friends," Professor Schweitzer said.
He said the trick to beating the post-holiday blues was to take an aspect of that holiday with you as you head into another year.
"Think about what aspect of your holiday was most satisfying," he said.
"You may have taken up a new interest, gone dancing or played a sport you don't usually play or hadn't in years. It's important to allocate time for that interest in your life."
He said parents often felt the post-holiday blues in particular because they had been able to spend more time with their children, often in beach or other holiday locations that took them away from everyday life.
"While it can be hard to find the time to do so once you go back to work, if you can prioritise and allocate time to family and children, you may not feel so bad about the holiday being over.
"Look forward to the next play time, or sporting event or whatever it is that gives you pleasure.
"Rather than thinking of the holidays as privileged times when we relax and do what we want to do, take control of your out-of-work time and then you'll be able to take a little bit of that holiday atmosphere with you through the year."
He said the nature of a workplace also had an impact on the back-to-work blues.
"Workdays are often getting longer, so it's important for people to have a good break.
"People who work for employers who respect a healthy work-life balance and allow people the flexibility that is needed to run a home and family and still meet work commitments are more likely to feel a shade less blue as they return to work.
"So too are those who ditched the iPhone while on holidays. iPhones mean people are constantly at the bequest of others, including workplaces. And, if it's any consolation, the bosses are probably experiencing the post-holiday blues, too."
He suggested becoming aware of our responses to the end of the break, scheduling pleasant events as part of our normal routine, prioritise time for relationships which are most important to ourselves and appreciate aspects of your work life which are most meaningful.
"Gaining a sense of being in charge of our decisions is always helpful," he said.