We have just had a leisurely coffee on the beach or let our soul dangle at the hotel pool and it's already there - the first working day after the holiday. In view of the approaching return to everyday work, there is often a pronounced low mood that we otherwise only know from Monday mornings before the first coffee. We are tired, demotivated and would like to get on the next plane back to paradise.
Psychologists call this feeling "post-holiday syndrome". The fact that there is an official name for it shows that we are not alone. It is estimated that around two-thirds of all employees suffer from the low mood after the holiday.
The good news: the worst is usually over after three days. The rule of thumb is that the longer and more relaxing the break was, the more difficult it is for us to get back to work.
When we come back from vacation and work calls, then the "serious side of life" begins again. This means an enormous change for our body and our psyche, which often leads to a bad mood and a low performance, as Robin Kaufmann from Institute for Occupational Health Advice in an interview with the "RedaktionsNetzwerk Deutschland" said, "Perhaps you had different sleeping times on vacation and you have to get used to getting up early again."
The post-holiday syndrome is characterized by symptoms such as tiredness, loss of motivation, difficulty concentrating, headaches, sleep disorders and irritability. Although it can feel like depression for those affected at first, it must be clearly differentiated from it.
Unlike the mental illness, the post-holiday low mood is a temporary depression that usually disappears quickly.
However, if you don't feel like going back to the office in a bad mood after your vacation, you can also prevent the post-holiday syndrome. For example with our five tips against the after-holiday blues.
Procrastination is a trait shared by many of us. After all, tomorrow is another day. Shortly before the holiday, we should still really work through all the items on our to-do list. This allows us to enjoy the downtime without having a work tab open somewhere in the back of our minds that gets bigger as the first day of work approaches. If we have dealt with all legacy issues, we can start over on the first day after the holiday instead of solving old problems first.
Going from zero to one hundred is actually never a good idea. Especially not if that means that we fall back into stress straight away from relaxation. On the first day in particular, we should instead take it easy. That means: Set appointments very generously and plan enough breaks.
And maybe we can activate the out-of-office message in the mail program even one day longer. And don't stress yourself before you start work. The Dutch researcher Jeroen Narwijn found out that the mood could otherwise plummet two days before the end of the holiday.
A smart time planning of our vacation can create a lot of relief. For example, it makes sense not to put the return flight on the last day, but to allow us a few days to arrive. That means: If we start working again on Monday, then we should be back home by Saturday at the latest, or even better by Friday.
What also helps to avoid getting the full brunt of work stress when you are still sitting by the sea with a sun hat on: just put the first day of work on Wednesday or Thursday. This enables us not to have to work a full working week directly.
A sorrow shared is a sorrow halved – we all know this saying. However, when we share moments of joy with others, we double our happiness. Because: We remember the beautiful moments again and at the same time let our counterpart participate in them.
So it's worth taking holiday photos or souvenirs with you to work and telling our colleagues about our great time. As a result, the after-holiday blues pass quickly. And maybe we'll get direct inspiration for the next trip in exchange.
It's like this: we probably won't immediately be back to the level of performance we had before the vacation. And that's completely normal too. On vacation we get used to a different daily routine, establish a different sleeping rhythm and do exactly what we feel like most of the time.
In everyday working life, our life then follows fixed structures again. So we should give ourselves the time and space to calmly adjust to everyday work again. And don't forget that the next break will come.
By the way: From a psychological point of view, it is much more worthwhile to take shorter vacations more often than to take a longer trip once or twice a year. This is because the recovery effects fizzle out after two weeks at the latest, regardless of the duration of the break, so that we are then back to our original stress level.
Source: Editorial Network Germany,