Dealing with Post Vacation Blehhh

As summer ends, you may be experiencing post vacation blues.

In an article published by the British Safety Council, Francisco Bretones defines Post Vacation Blues or Post Holiday Depression as “vague anxiety, increased irritability, feelings of nostalgia, sleep problems, and general discomfort common in many workers when summer holidays are over.”

When those symptoms hit me recently, I didn’t know how to feel or what it meant. I love my job and find it very fulfilling, yet it did not feel that way for a while. Work felt like a ball of uncertainty, demotivation, second guessing, and anxiety.

Work can mean a lot of different things, depending on who you ask. Some people go to work simply to earn a paycheck, while others work to achieve a desired social status, to excel in their field, or because they truly love what they do. The meaning of work is extremely fluid and subjective.

No matter where you derive it from, having some sense of meaning is crucial to being happy at work.

I tried the walks outside, the self-care and mindfulness various blogs suggested, and those were great coping methods. However, what truly helped me out of that place was recognizing this is temporary and reconnecting to my ‘why’ at work.

Take a moment to reflect on your ‘why.’

Maybe your job itself is tedious or less than ideal in some way, but you have good relationships at work, or the work that you do helps others in some way.

Now ask yourself the following questions:

  • Am I working primarily for a position or paycheck?
  • Do I consider my work a profession or just a job?
  • Am I enthusiastic about what I’m doing?
  • What gives me the most meaning at work?

Once you have identified your sources of meaning at work, write them down so you can return to them at anytime. If you are still struggling with motivation or burnout, consider if you feel psychologically safe to be yourself at work, or if you need a shift in work hours, if that is an option.

Psychological safety refers to the freedom to be your true self in interpersonal interactions without the fear of judgment, harassment, humiliation, punishment, or negative repercussions for sharing ideas or asking questions. To create psychologically safe environments, employers must focus on developing a positive and inclusive workplace culture. This is ongoing process of actively listening to employees, valuing them, and understanding what their needs are.

Ever considered a 4-day work week? Research at Sanford University revealed a clear link between a four-day workweek and increased productivity. Overworked employees are actually less productive than employees working an average or normal working week. A 4-day week can lead to happier and more committed employees. Employees are less likely to be stressed or take sick leave as they have plenty of time to rest and recover. As a result, they return to work feeling ready to take on new challenges.

Whether you need to reconnect to your purpose, ensure you work in a psychologically safe workplace, or consider a 4-day workweek, we hope you find purpose and connection this week.