The Christmas break may finally be over for us all and now the real question is, how do you tell the difference between a standard case of post-holiday blues and a real need to consider the next stage of your career?
Even in a world where new opportunities continue to emerge for candidates, it's important not to rush into a major career change. It's common to feel drained and unhappy when returning to work after a vacation, but this doesn't necessarily mean you hate your job.
Holidays and travel allow us to escape the working world's stresses and explore other passions. Returning to reality after experiencing so much freedom can be difficult.
Post-holiday blues are a normal response to leaving behind your fun-filled and carefree holiday life. The phenomenon doesn't just happen following a vacation; it's also common around the festive season and after any long breaks from work.
How to Handle Holiday Blues
If your concerns about returning to work are based largely on the desire to stay sitting by the Christmas tree for a little longer, the chances are you're just experiencing post-holiday blues. Around 57% of Brits say they feel down when returning to work.
The good news is, if you're still relatively happy in your role, your post-holiday sadness will dissipate with time. You can speed up the process by:
- Setting some goals
Start establishing goals while returning to work to keep your mind focused and get you moving towards positive outcomes. Look at your career plan and where you were heading before your holiday. If you were thinking of pursuing a promotion in your company, begin planning steps for how you can prove yourself to your employers.
Establishing your priorities and objectives will take your mind off any negative post-holiday feelings and give you a sense of empowerment as you dive back into your career.
- Adjusting your mindset
Sometimes it's hard to snap out of your post-holiday blues when you're constantly reminiscing about your vacation and how "free" you felt outside work. A good way to flip the script is to start focusing on what you enjoy about your role. Remind yourself of the things you look forward to when you're at work, whether connecting with colleagues or delighting clients.
Reflect on your recent achievements and remind yourself how good it feels to accomplish your career goals. You could even ask your manager if there are any opportunities to take on more of the work you enjoy after your vacation.
- Preparing properly for the break
Before you go on vacation, it's worth prepping yourself for the potential of holiday blues. Start by ensuring you have all the tasks you need to do before you go away tied up and completed. This ensures you won't rush to meet deadlines when you return.
Where possible, you can also look into giving yourself a day or two to adjust when you get back from your vacation. Avoid packing your schedule with any complicated tasks when you get back into the swing. Focus on pursuing the tasks you enjoy, and give yourself a little extra time to find your rhythm. You could even ask to work remotely for a few days when you return if this will make you feel more comfortable.
Is It More than Holiday Blues?
Holiday Blues are an unpleasant experience affecting even the most dedicated employees. However, they usually disappear on their own. If you find your negative feelings linger or go deeper than simply missing your vacation, there may be a more significant issue.
If you can't seem to shake the holiday blues with the strategies above, ask yourself:
- Are your concerns connected to your break? If you're suffering from holiday blues, most of your worries about returning to work will revolve around missing your trip or struggling to get back into the flow of things when you return. However, your concerns may be more significant if you have a real issue with your role. If you're constantly struggling with a difficult manager, feel unfulfilled in your job at any time of year, or dread the tasks you do each day, this is a sign you may need a career change.
- Do you enjoy your job? There are positive and negative parts to any role. We all have parts of our jobs we don't enjoy as much as others. The key to ensuring career satisfaction is deciding whether the positives outweigh the negatives. If you generally enjoy what you do and don't dread work every day, you're likely in the right place. If you can't find much about the role you enjoy, you may be in the wrong position.
- Are you approaching your career goals? A good way to determine whether you're suffering from holiday blues, or struggling in the wrong position, is to look at your career plan. Are you making progress towards your targets? Can you see room for growth in your current company, and do you know how you will take the next step? If you feel trapped and unsatisfied in your current position and you're not making any progress, you may need to look for another role.
Time for a Career Change?
If you decide post-holiday blues aren't the cause of your workplace issues, then you have a few options. You can consider speaking to your manager about ways to make your role more appealing. For instance, maybe you can change your schedule or explore the potential of hybrid and remote work.
If you can't see a way to improve your working life, the best option is to seek out a new career. Work with a specialist recruiter to define the job you want, and start pursuing a professional life you'll be happy to return to after any holiday.
Can we help?
Here at Lucy Walker Recruitment, we have been helping firms with their talent acquisition, and job seekers find their ideal roles for over 30 years. We have placed thousands of candidates and filled thousands of roles for our clients; if you want to find out how we can help you call us on 0113 367 2880 or email us here.