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How to get over the post-holiday blues

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How to get over the post-holiday blues
File Photo: Rochelle Hartman
17:29 CEST+02:00
With millions of people in Spain just back at work after the long summer holidays, The Local spoke to Madrid-based psychotherapist Kristin Ketelslegers about how to survive this difficult transition.

Kristin: why is going back to work so difficult?

First off, some people might just be working in the wrong profession or even the wrong country — it has to be said!

Some people may realize this, but others won't.

And what about everyone else?

Well, there are a number of reasons.

Even if you like your job, going back to work means you have to fit in again with the schedule and the imposed structure of the work.

There's obviously a different rhythm between holidays and work.

You may have the feeling you managed your own time while you were on holiday — even though you were probably dependent on flight schedules and travel plans.

But at least you may have been able to decide when to wake and how long to take over breakfast.

Then a lot of people make the mistake of believing they are the only person who doesn't want to go back to work.

That's not true! Everyone's in the same position. Even your boss.

How long do these post-holiday blues last?

Some people can get over it on the first morning while others will need a couple of weeks.

And what coping strategies are there?

The planning starts before you even go on holidays.

I highly recommend that you clear your desk and finish all tasks so that you have a clean slate when you come back.

Then when you do get back from your holiday, you should start planning your next holiday so that you have something to look forward to.

Also, book a short trip, like a long weekend, for the near future.

The day or the evening before you are due to start work, it's important that you focus on what you like about your work.

That could mean thinking about a certain colleague that you are looking forward to seeing, or remembering what you learn in the job.

What about when you are actually in the workplace?

When you are back at work, take a 'holiday moment'. Call a friend or a loved one, or have a coffee with a co-worker you get on with.

Focus on where you are and not on the holiday.

Remind yourself that your work isn't that bad, or that such and such a colleague is not so difficult to be around.

In fact, lots of people have the same end-of-holiday style problem every week. 

They spend the working week thinking about the weekend and then spend Sunday thinking about their job. As a result they only have a one-day weekend.

So it's important that you concentrate on where you are.

With so many unemployed people in Spain, do those people with jobs feel guilty about their post-holiday blues?

The opposite is true. People with jobs are happy that they still have work to go back to.

But it's very difficult for unemployed people. 

They feel guilty about having had holidays and this makes the whole business of getting back into the routine of looking for work even harder.

These people are in a very tough position just at the moment.

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