In fact, a recent survey found that it takes about four days to get back into the swing of things, both at home and at work. Productivity at work is particularly challenged; with one in five people saying they make more mistakes, while 40 per cent hit the chocolate as a way of easing themselves back in. This is hardly surprising considering all the wonderful memories you will be recalling while ploughing through the post-holiday email deluge. Well, you know what they say – preparation is half the battle. So I have pulled together a list of six things you can try before, during and after your family break to beat the post-holiday blues.
Before your break
- Have something to look forward to
One of the biggest feelings when returning from a break is the feeling of having nothing to look forward to. You spend weeks getting increasingly more excited in anticipation of your holiday, then it’s all over. Counter this by booking a fun day out for you and the family a couple of weeks after you return. It doesn’t need to be costly; last month my family and I drove to the seaside for the day.
- Cross everything off the to-do list This applies for both work and home. Have you been meaning to fix the bookshelves in the living room all year? Get it done before you go away. Putting the finishing touches on that presentation at work? Ditto. This means you can start with a clean slate when you return. This way you can avoid the pre-holiday stresses hanging over you, leaving you free to enjoy cocktails by the pool during your break.
- Don’t give in to email temptation As hard as it may be, and my colleague Simon has written on this very subject previously, it’s so important to be able to switch off – literally and figuratively – during a break. Put your work phone at the back of the drawer and leave it there. A German company had a novel way of dealing with holiday emails and out of office replies. A response was sent to every email saying:
“I am on vacation. I cannot read your email. Your email is being deleted. Please contact Hans or Monika if it’s really important, or resend the email after I’m back in the office. [Thank you very much].”
After your break
- Take up a new activity If you did something you really enjoyed while you were away, see if there is somewhere in your local area that offers the activity too. If, for example, you have just enjoyed a family break at Center Parcs where you and the children took part in Windsurfing Tuition, search online where you can give it a go near you. You’ll be surprised at some of the hidden gems you will find and you never know, it might turn into an award-winning passion.
- You are what you eat A leading nutritionist, Dora Walsh, believes that eating a diet high in berries for the week or two after your return will ease those holiday blues. Berries contain nutrients that increase blood flow to the brain and get you thinking more sharply, a key factor in regaining the lost productivity we mentioned. On the contrary, sweets and fatty sugars such as chocolate will give you a temporary sugar high, then an inevitable crash. Make sure you stock up on the blueberries!
- Plan the next break There’s no better way to beat the blues than by booking a new break the moment you come back. This will certainly give you something to look forward to again. If you’ve just come back from Center Parcs and can’t wait to come back, take a look at our Come Back Soon offer to save money and get our best prices.