Struggling with post-holiday blues? Try these tips - 96five Family Radio

Struggling with post-holiday blues? Try these tips

A clinical psychologist shares tips on how to overcome the feelings of disappointment and even dread in returning to work or school.

By Steff WillisFriday 13 Jan 2023Health and WellbeingReading Time: 2 minutes

Do you have a case of the post-holiday blues?

That ugly feeling you get after a joyful and relaxing holiday comes to an end and a return to work or school is inevitable.

You’re not alone. Clinical psychologist Associate Professor Gavin Beccaria of the University of Southern Queensland says the post-holiday blues are a common feeling.

“It’s not necessarily a clinical concept but it certainly is very real for people” Assoc Prof Gavin Beccaria shared with 96five’s Arthur Muhl.

“There are multiple stressors that people will have post holidays. It’s not just having to go back to work it’s some of the bills that people have to pay, looking at the waistline after some festive treats. All of those things create feedback for us that we have to get back into the realities of life.

So how do you know you’ve got the post-holiday blues? Assoc Prof Gavin Beccaria says sleep is a good indicator.

“If other people are finding you irritable, if you find your sleep is being affected and particularly if you are having difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep, it tends to be a really good tell-tale sign.

“If you’re finding that you’re relying on substances such as nicotine or alcohol and that has been increasing, that could be a sign that we’re trying to use other ways of coping.

Associate Professor Gavin Beccaria from the University of Southern Queensland

Associate Professor Gavin Beccaria from the University of Southern Queensland (Supplied)

Gavin suggests a couple of ideas on how to beat the blues, regaining energy and safeguarding your mental health.

Tips on how to beat the post-holiday blues

1. Looking for things you enjoy

“I think it’s really important that we factor in things that we enjoy in life” said Assoc Prof Gavin Beccaria.

“Having down time and even better if we can be off the electronic grid and not be focusing on our emails and other things that are related to work.”

2. Set realistic and time focused goals

You might consider trying the SMART goal method. Developed in 1981 by George Doran, Arthur Miller, and James Cunningham, SMART is about setting specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely goals.

3. Good diet and health exercise

“If we’re feeling healthy in ourselves, it’s going to help our mental health” said Assoc Prof Gavin Beccaria.

Two women engaging in exercise

Source: Luis Quintero on Unsplash

4. Make time for friends and family

“Being around people that you enjoy being around is really crucial to positive mental health” shared Assoc Prof Gavin Beccaria.

“Gravitate towards people who are positive and invigorate you.”

Spiritual practices are important too

Gavin encourages those with faith to incorporate that into their daily life.

“I have found in my clinical work people who have a faith they’re able to let things go that sometimes would otherwise bother them.”

Listen to the full interview in the player above.