How to Avoid the “Holiday Slump”

What is the Holiday Slump?

We’ve all felt it – you’re full of holiday snacks and treats, you’ve been spoiling yourself and your family, and you’re worn out from the rush of the holiday season. Returning to work after the holiday break can feel like a challenge. After time off and the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, catching up on work might be the last thing on your mind. The holiday slump affects everyone differently and can result in lower rates of productivity right at the start of a brand new year. We want to start off every day on a good note – so here are some ways to avoid the holiday slump and maintain productivity at work to decrease stress levels!

What Employees Can Do

Recognizing that you are someone who suffers from the holiday slump is the first step to avoiding it! If you feel like you have a hard time getting back into the swing of things at work after the holidays end, there are preventative measures you can take to ensure your productivity levels stay up, and your workload doesn’t pile up.

  1. Get Organized – Prepare and plan for the month ahead! Writing down a to-do list is a simple task that can fuel your motivation. Organize your list by priority, but try to weave simpler tasks in between the bigger, more challenging tasks. Completing the big stuff is important – but completing the small stuff can increase feelings of satisfaction and therefore motivate you to tackle the bigger stuff!
  2. Categorize your email – don’t expect to get through every single email in your inbox in the first couple of days back to work. Categorize your emails into three different sections: emails that need to be addressed immediately, emails that can be addressed later, and emails that will likely be deleted/ignored. Filtering through your emails decreases the feeling of an overwhelming level of demands from multiple sources.
  3. Put anything that is non-urgent on the back-burner. Set aside one day near the end of the week to address all things that were not urgent to address upon your return. This decreases stress by setting a specific time to address menial tasks without having to worry about the small stuff while addressing the big stuff. If you need a break from big projects, address one of these back-burner items so that you aren’t completely stopping your work flow.
  4. Give yourself micro-breaks. The reality is that it’s not easy to get back into work mode after being away. Take micro-breaks (2-3 minutes) every hour to rest and recharge and face your work with a new mindset.

What Employers Should Know

It’s important for employers to recognize that employees may have a lower productivity rate following the holidays. Here are some things employers can do to increase productivity and a positive atmosphere for employees following the holidays:

  • Help decrease stress levels by encouraging frequent micro-breaks – suggest mindfulness activities to bring employees to the present moment to let go of the past and not worry about the future.
  • Acknowledge feelings; chances are, everyone is feeling slightly overwhelmed and a little bummed out that the holidays are over – it’s okay to acknowledge this with open honesty
  • Remind employees that it’s a new year; we all want to start the new year off on a good note
  • Be available to assist employees – to provide feedback, encouragement and guidelines
  • Have patience while employees are getting back into their work habits, but also be firm with deadlines and requirements
  • Practice gratitude with your employees for the time you did get away from work

Resources to Help

Gowan Consulting is currently offering 20% off our Managing Mental Health Issues and Return to Work Workshop! This workshop focuses on stay at work and return to work after a leave due to mental health concerns. Register now to become a return to work expert! If your employee continues to have productivity issues long after the holiday, it may be a sign of an underlying issue. Consult with one of our Occupational Therapists, who can provide an assessment to determine the root of workplace productivity issues, and provide sustainable solutions to ensure the employee can do their best work. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you in the workplace!

Works Cited

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