Tired, bad mood, inability to concentrate, overwhelming feeling of ‘I can’t be bothered’….this could be symptomatic of a number of health issues but if you have recently returned from holiday, it is very likely to be symptoms of a problem commonly known as Post Holiday Blues. We’ve all been there; you book your annual leave and spend weeks/months getting excited about it. A day or two before you leave you are on ‘wind down’ and then if you’re really lucky to have a switch off button you don’t have to think about work while you are away.
You may have spent some delicious time soaking up the sun whilst sipping cocktails, experienced leisurely days on the Piste or perhaps even enjoyed quality time with loved ones… but on the eve of your return to work, reality kicks in; yes, you have to work for a living. 🙁
I have worked with people who seem genuinely eager to get back into the office whether it’s to crack on with work or to show off a sun tan, but I bet everyone has worked with someone who can’t even raise a fake smile.
I have just returned from nearly three weeks in the UK and luckily for my colleagues, apart from a touch of jet lag I have not suffered this affliction. It was only when someone asked if I was feeling PHB I realised I was surprisingly happy about returning. What a comparable difference if I look back at myself a few years ago when I wasn’t enjoying the job I had at that time. My old colleagues seemed to graciously accept my withdrawn, ‘woe is me’ attitude (that went on for well over a week) as a normal case of PHB but was this actually just a symptom of Returning-To-Work Blues?
I was actually thinking about the role cost of PHB when I sat in the office in Perth last week. If it takes me two or three days to get back into the swing of things, it is a cost to my business. What is worse is if I actually distract my fellow team members and make them less productive as well? This can cost money and damage team morale as well. I promise that this was not the case for me this time when I came back (in case my boss is reading this)!!!
So in my last role was it just a normal case of PHB and just a symptom of Returning-To-Work? Maybe, I think it could have been. I wasn’t happy and should have been making changes earlier than I did. Is this the case for everyone? It was certainly the case for me a few years ago and I regret not making a career change sooner. You’ll have to ask yourself that question after your next break.
Abigail Elwell – Senior Consultant