Returning to the Routine

The “post-holiday syndrome” does not exist as a clinical pathology. There’s a difference between holiday blues and a deeper, clinical depression.

By Matt Schofield

So autumn is arriving, and both our body and our mind substantially notice the change of seasons. Not many days ago, although many of us had already begun to work after the holidays, we kept the positive summer spirit and the energy and vitality achieved during our rest days. However, with the temperatures dropping down and the days getting shorter, the assimilation of the return to routine takes us more and more closer to what is called “post-holiday syndrome”.

The so-called “post-holiday syndrome” does not exist as a clinical pathology (ie, as a “disease”), that name is associated to the group of signs and symptoms that some people have when they return to work after the holidays, in early autumn.

Experts say there’s a difference between holiday blues and a deeper, clinical depression. If you experience severe changes in mood or loss in appetite you’re encouraged to seek help.

Sometimes, some discomfort symptoms appear, but they are part of the process of adaptation to the new routine after the break, they may not have pathological character and they should disappear soon. Rarely the symptoms are installed permanently if the patient was not depressed before. Generally, a few days are enough to get used to the new rhythm. However, in more severe cases, the discomfort may come to interfere with work activity due to attentional concentration difficulties, irritability, subjective feeling of powerlessness, boredom, problems to organize, sad mood and lack of illusion.

If you work full time you probably spend at least forty-five hours a week at work, more than ten hours preparing for and travelling to it, countless hours recovering from it …and weekends thinking about it.

Yet the much-used motto of the working populace is: ‘I don’t live to work, I work to live’. That doesn’t add up. Surely, in order to live life to the full, you must love your work too? You have to create some impact, be yourself and live up to your true potential. Otherwise it could be a huge waste of time and you may just be keeping a seat warm.

It may be a cliché but it’s important to remember that you create your future. The bottom line is: how do you want it to look? Does it look like the present?

The lack of motivation plays a central role in the origin of this problem, especially in the workplace. If we work only to get the money we need, our work will never be a motivation and the importance of vocation and personal fulfillment will decrease.

One of the fundamental keys to overcome this state of mind is to ensure that the work is a backbone of our lives, one of the most important centers of our identity. We are, at least in part, the work we do. Charles Baudelaire said: “There are only two ways to get rid of the nightmare of the relentless passage of time: pleasure and work. Pleasure exhausts us and work fortifies us.“

Possibly, regain creative sense and consciousness of the utility of our work is the best possible attitude to feel better in these difficult days. Do it right, do it best. Do it so eager, enthusiastic… or even with a bit of angry. Never give up. You only get one life. Go for it!

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