Whether you’ve been soaking up the sun in a tropical paradise, enjoying the serene vibes of a winter retreat, or opting for a cosy staycation during the holidays, transitioning back to the regular grind in the new year can prove to be quite a challenge. The last thing anyone wants is that overwhelming sense of panic upon returning from a relaxing break. The goal is to re-enter daily life feeling recharged, refreshed, and ready to conquer your goals. To help you and your team combat the post-holiday slump and smoothly transition back to business as usual, we’ve compiled a set of top 10 actionable tips.

1. Clear Your Workspace Before You Leave

A clutter-free workspace can do wonders for your post-break mental health. Take some time before you leave to tidy up your desk, whether it’s at home or in the office. Toss those used post-it notes, organize your pens, and give your laptop, screen, and surfaces a good wipe down. Consider adding a pleasant diffuser to infuse your workspace with a refreshing aroma. Returning to a clean and organised space sets the stage for a seamless dive back into work.

2. Schedule Time for Your Inbox

Confronting your inbox can be a daunting task, but it’s a crucial step in regaining control. Keep your out-of-office response active for the morning of your return, schedule dedicated time on your calendar, and work through your inbox systematically. Prioritise messages that are key to your role and team, and don’t be afraid to use the delete button liberally to declutter your digital space.

3. Prioritise Your To-Do Lists

The return to normal routine after a holiday can feel disproportionately overwhelming, thanks to the mind’s tendency to exaggerate the challenges of everyday life. Counter this by getting active with to-do lists. Plan short, medium, and long-term goals, making them attainable. The satisfaction of ticking off completed tasks can reignite positive well-being.

4. Start a New Project

Kickstart your post-holiday period with excitement by beginning a new project. It could be a short-term task like organising a cluttered closet or a long-term endeavour like learning a new language online. The anticipation of starting something new is invigorating, regardless of whether you complete the project.

5. Focus on Wellbeing

Counterbalance the indulgence of the holidays by refocusing on your nutritional health goals. Mindfully choose your meals, and engage in meal prep to stay on top of your wellbeing. Incorporate high-impact exercise, such as jogging or walking meetings, to boost creativity and overall well-being.    High impact exercise helps boost neurogenesis, the process by which new neurons are formed in the brain…in fact, a study by Standford University found that a walking meeting can boost creativity by up to 60%.    Take time for your mind and selfcare as well; it can be easy to get overwhelmed once you’re back online. Block out your calendar to focus on breathing techniques, meditation, or even yoga to support you in keeping calm amidst the chaos.

6. Book Some Time Off

Combat the post-holiday blues by looking forward to your next break. Schedule time off, whether it’s a weekend getaway, a few days off, or a future trip.  Psychologists say having something to anticipate can serve as a positive motivator for your mental health.  It need not be a luxurious holiday. It could be just visiting a friend at a point in the future where you can do something new. The key is that you have something in the diary to look forward to.

7. Declutter Your Space

Use this opportunity to declutter your home and reorganise your possessions. Donate items you no longer need to a charity shop and shift your focus from regret or loss to solution-focused behaviour.

8. Incorporate Fun into Your Daily Life

Integrate enjoyable activities into your routine. These don’t have to be extravagant events but simple things that provide a break from cognitive functions and uplift your mood.

9. Eat & Sleep Well

Holidays are usually a time of indulgence and letting loose.  One way to combat the holiday blues is to quickly get back on track with any nutritional health goals you may have. It doesn’t mean going too restrictive on your meals — it means being mindful of what you’re eating and even doing some prep to keep you  on top of your wellbeing.    Cooking is also a great way to reconnect yourself with the holidays or trip you just had; look to recreate a meal from the trip but instead, add in extra veggies or swap the cooking method for a healthier one.

There’s an abundance of research showing that focus and performance drop dramatically with lost sleep, and that sleep deprivation can have disastrous effects on your physical health as well. Turn off any screens in good time before bed, use relaxation strategies that work for you, and go to bed early to ensure you’ll wake up feeling rested and ready.

10. Prioritise Your Mental Health

The post-Christmas period can  potentially be a deflating time and can bring about feelings of emptiness and loneliness. There is little solid research behind post-Christmas blues but adrenaline comedown could be a factor.  The sudden withdrawal of stress hormones that follows a significant social event, such as a major family occasion, an important milestone at work, or a holiday period such as Christmas and New Year, can have a compound negative effect on our biological and psychological well-being.

Combat potential blues by focusing on self-care, talking to people close to you, and seeking professional help if needed. If you’re struggling, reach out to your employer’s Employee Assistance Programme or organisations like Samaritans (08457 90 90 90) for confidential support.  If you think you might be affected by seasonal affective disorder or depression, speak to your GP.

Remember, post-holiday challenges are temporary, and proactive steps can make the transition smoother and more positive.