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How to survive returning to work after vacation

How to survive returning to work after vacation

It may be normal, after a long break such as the holidays, to think about returning to work with anxiety. How can we avoid as much as possible the negative feelings associated with the end of this break? duty I gathered advice from four experts in human resources and psychology.

Pick up

First of all, for those who are still on vacation, try not to think about work! “We want people to disconnect while they're on vacation, because it's better for their mental health,” says Annie Boulard, CRHA, president of the Annie RH Network. This allows for a richer recovery period and they will be more likely to return to work. It may make the return more difficult, but the batteries will be recharged and you will be more productive. »

Gradually return to the rhythm

After all, it is not advisable to wait until the day before to return to reality to resume the corresponding pace of life, believes Julie Carignan, organizational psychologist at CRHA and partner at the consulting firm Humance. “We went to bed late, and stayed in our pajamas until noon. It is physically and psychologically difficult to wake up early, eat at specific times, etc.,” she says, comparing the phenomenon to jet lag.

The shock will be less brutal if we prepare for it gradually. “It's also helpful to stock the fridge and have clean clothes for this type of task [les courses et la lessive] It is not added to our work week,” emphasizes M.I Carignan.

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Prepare a mini vacation with you

“Did you have a good time during the vacation? Did you feel the magic of the holidays? So, keep having those small doses of kindness toward yourself,” recommends Denis Morin, a professor in the Department of Organization and Human Resources at the University of Quebec in Montreal.

The expert says it may be tempting to exhaust yourself by keeping track of files and pressuring yourself to perform. He believes that you should not expect to be productive from the early days. It's a good idea to allow yourself some transition time before restarting the device at full power.

“If we have a great holiday season, we should savor the memories and keep them active. They are essential resources for facing the dark winter months,” says Estelle M. Morin, a psychologist and full professor in the Department of Management at HEC Montreal.

However, some people may have gone through difficult times during this period, whether for example due to bad news, difficult family relationships or isolation. In this case, it is more important to be kind to yourself, to maintain your mental health.

“Some people will set very high goals for themselves. But in a situation where we are already overwhelmed with emotions and anxiety, we are not obliged to do more all the time,” said jury M.I Maureen.

Dennis Morin also suggests identifying elements that contributed to psychological detachment from work during vacations, such as social activities and sports. Why not incorporate them somewhat into your work routine?

Julie Carignan agrees. “Sitting in front of a computer for eight hours again can be a shock. Why not force yourself to go out for a walk to get some fresh air and connect to the light?” she asks.

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Take time to socialize with others

Whether in person or online, MI Carignan believes it is important to hear from his colleagues when he returns from vacation. “Taking care of them, greeting each other, reconnecting, going to dinner as a team… We may think it's a waste of time, but the quality of our interpersonal relationships is important at work,” she says.

Prioritization, planning

To avoid feeling overwhelmed by the amount of backlog and expectation, it's important to allow time for catching up and planning. “We can't respond to 40,000 emails at the same time. We have to separate what's urgent from what can wait,” says Annie Bouillard.

“We go file by file,” says Dennis Morin. The more we look at it on a global level, the more worried we become. »

Julie Carignan suggests breaking down the months and tasks of 2024 into phases and “more digestible chunks” to avoid perceiving the whole thing as a mountain.

Start fresh

The beginning of the year can be an opportunity to evaluate your career goals and expectations, believes MI Carignan. “This may be a good time to request a meeting with your manager or colleague whose support may be helpful in creating a work environment that is more conducive to our well-being,” she adds.

MI Boulard, for his part, suggests naming the triggers that occur at work and grounding ourselves in a collaborative and flexible stance. All this would allow you to face work gently and in a good mood.

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