September can be a dreary time of the year. The kids are back at school, we have all returned from our summer holidays; the nights are drawing in, and it seems a long time until the Christmas holidays. So what can this mean for us? Often, one thing, the back-to-work blues.
According to research, Autumn is a key time to have a career crisis. Many of us spend a relaxing fortnight in the sun questioning our choice of job and dreading going back to the office. You may even have what some experts have dubbed Post Holiday Syndrome – a general feeling of discomfort, tiredness, lack of appetite and anxiety.
First of all, it is not that uncommon to have an initial feeling of discomfort about returning to work following a holiday. A holiday is a time for relaxation, a suspension of reality and responsibility. Getting back home is returning to the reality of life, responsibilities, and work. For many people work may not be a passion even though it is enjoyable or acceptable most of the time. If, however, you are anxious and lacking appetite on returning from holiday then you may need to explore this further.
It is important to first of all distinguish between anxiety and nervousness or concern. When you are in a state of anxiety, you tend to exaggerate the badness of the situation, underestimate your ability to stand or cope and even put yourself down. The thoughts tend be very negative and all that you want to do is think of ways to avoid or run away from the situation. In this case it may be
related to the job itself or even bosses or people you are working with. You may think that you have no other choice left in the world and feel like you are forcing yourself to do something that you really do not want to do. In this state of anxiety you may lose your appetite and also have problems with sleeping.
So what can you do about the back the work blues?
- Change the way you are currently thinking about work and make it more helpful to you. Accept that you may not be in your ideal workplace at the moment but whilst that is bad, it is not the worst thing that can happen to you and that you can tolerate it even though you may not like it.
- Reflect on what you want to be doing. Maybe it is time to explore your options and what really interests you. This may take a little time but is worth it. Once you have established your goal then create a plan about what you need to do to
start moving towards it. You need to accept that achieving your career goal may mean retraining and may take a few
years. (If you think you might be interested in retraining in therapy/hypnotherapy remember to check out www.ccbh.org.uk for more info on Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy our courses.)
- Think clearly about why your goal is important to you. Write these reasons down. Keep your focus on the goal and remind
yourself of these personally important reasons. This will help you remain focused on your plan particularly when at time
you may feel de-motivated or uncomfortable in your current job.
Lastly, remember that you are only in your current job temporarily and that it will come to an end sooner or later and you will be embarking on something new.
Ok, so that is the post holiday blues, but many of us encounter another problem in these cold Autumn and winter months, after we have returned from holiday, and this is that you can lose diet/health motivation
Let’s explain a little more. From spring until August, most of us have one diet goal – to look good on our summer holiday. But come the autumn, with Christmas still too far away to worry about and the colder weather meaning we naturally cover up more,
it can be hard to have a weight loss focus. You need to find a new goal to focus on and re-energise your healthy eating efforts.
If you only want to lose weight for your summer holiday or for Christmas then accept that that’s your goal and it’s for that specific reason only. This means accepting that weight loss is not a major issue for you. Accept yourself and get on with life. Find another
temporary goal like giving up a certain food for Lent or an alcohol detox for a month. You can join with a friend and start walking or jogging together.
However, if physical health and well being is important to you then you need to keep it high on your agenda and not just for holidays.
How can you keep motivated about health all year round?
- Create a health goal and ensure it is high on your list of priorities and commit to achieving it. You will struggle if you are inconsistent with this. So think about why your physical health is important to you.
- Make a list of ‘What’s in it for me in committing to my physical health and well being?’ This list becomes the source of your motivation and initial kick start. You need to be thinking about your goal and this list daily. A good exercise would be to start imagining yourself with your goal already achieved. Do this daily for a few weeks to start the feeling of motivation and then put it into action and be consistent.
- During this initial period, accept that it will feel like a challenge. Keep imagining your goal and remind yourself of your list. This will help you tolerate this initial period more easily.
- After a few weeks, your feelings of motivation will naturally be there as a new lifestyle habit will begin to develop. It always feels more challenging at the beginning so realise this is natural. Keep your goal and ‘what in it for me reasons?’ at the forth front of your mind and accept that this initial feeling of discomfort is temporary but part of it.
We hope these tips help. Do let us know your experiences of combating your post holiday blues!