3 Ways To Be Less Bitter About Returning To Work After The Holidays

 In Procrastination, Stress

Nearly everyone has a tough time transitioning back to work this time of year. Our in-boxes will be filling with emails, too many meetings will be scheduled and the holiday season—which felt as if it were thrust upon us in November—is now suddenly behind us.

My theory is that we have a hard time coming back to work after the holidays because we don’t take enough time off throughout the year. A recent study by Oxford Economics called Project: Time Off supports my theory that especially Americans are not very good at taking vacation time; only 48% of men, and 44% of women used all their vacation time last year. So, it is understandable that over the holidays we get a taste of what it’s like to have time off, and then afterwards, it’s hard to come back to reality.

Instead of just gutting it out and being cranky for a week, try these three strategies:

  1. Appreciate what was great – take a few minutes and actually list out what you really enjoyed about the holidays. Maybe you took one, full day to just hang out with your brother. Perhaps you saw the new Star Wars film. Or maybe you simply enjoyed going out for coffee with your wife. Think of at least 10 things. Then review your list and feel the internal sense of appreciation for the aspects you enjoyed.
  2. Acknowledge what was not great – maybe your mother subtly criticized your parenting (or cooking, or lifestyle) or your husband forgot to buy you a gift. Trying NOT to think about our grievances actually keeps them around. If you want to “let it go,” you need to acknowledge it first.
  3. Make plans for the future – take a few minutes to plan out your week, make your to-do lists, and then look ahead a bit and reflect on what you want your year to look like. It doesn’t have to be a formal goal-setting session. Just make a quick list. Spending time thinking about the future is a big part of how our brains are wired.
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