When returning to work causes discomfort

Suitcases that close, being careful not to forget anything; baggage passing through airports in all directions; long faces and resignation; Dreams fulfilled, waiting for those to come. Although the lucky ones still have to enjoy their holidays, these last days of August many are finishing theirs to return to work, coinciding with the start of the school year. In many cases, with sportsmanship and naturalness for the return to routine. At the others, with some discomfort, lack of sleep, irritability and even anxiety.

Post-vacation syndrome is not characterized as a mental disorder. It is a way of defining a phenomenon that includes a specific set of characteristics that disappear as the individual moves into the new normal. However, if they continue over time and become chronic, it is advisable to consult a specialist to find an origin that could be found beyond the summer period.

Dolors Liria, expert in psychology and vice-dean of the Official College of Psychology of Catalonia (COPC)explains what it is and provides some suggestions for avoiding it, if possible.
The causes are multifactorial, they depend on each person and their context or even their emotional state. In general, some of the signs of post-holiday syndrome could be, on a psychological level, insomnia, not sleeping well the last nights thinking about returning or not being able to enjoy the last days. If the discomfort is more important, it can also be expressed at the level of the body with some gastrointestinal discomfort. You can go from a range of more to less. That is, of a certain uneasiness like the one you sometimes feel on Sunday thinking of Monday, of another that limits daily life, in which anxiety symptoms appear and, in the most serious cases , depressed. However, these extreme situations must be dealt with, often with the help of a professional.
The ambivalence of the start of the school year
The reasons are as many as people and not all of them are negative. In other words, you feel so good on vacation that you don’t want to come back. However, in these cases, recovery is faster. This is what happens with children and when they go back to school, on the one hand they don’t want to go back and on the other hand they can’t wait to see their classmates again. It also happens at work. In the end, professional satisfaction, being happy with what you do, also makes you want to come back.
“It generates a lot of psychological pain,” says Dolors Liria, who points out that it often results in bodily discomforts such as chest pain, shortness of breath and recurring pessimistic thoughts that prevent you from moving forward. On the contrary, lowering the level of anxiety allows you to put yourself in a position to see things in a more constructive way.
appearance time
When we perceive that the holidays have not been restorative or long enough to be able to return to work with enthusiasm, we generally anticipate discomfort. The last days before reincorporation, the spirit is already on the next stage.
Disconnect and relax
It is obvious that in recent times there has been a change in the way of working, which implies a much more permanent connection through all the technological means at our disposal. This sometimes makes it more difficult to set limits, both during the work period and during the vacation period. However, the key is not so much to disconnect 100%, but to know where the limits are and to limit the moments of rest very well.

Some manifestations are lack of sleep, irritability and even some anxiety in some cases

At this stage, the specialist points out that not all professions allow the long-awaited total disconnection, like some health professionals who leave with concerns about the health of one of their patients. In these cases, if they are available at specific, well-defined times, and the rest of the day, you return to the holidays, There should be no problem. What’s not healthy is spending a week camping or on a cruise and constantly getting notifications.
Both when going on vacation and when returning from it, it is essential not to go from one hundred to zero or vice versa. Although at the arrival of the trip it is advisable to take a few days to make arrangements and gradually increase the pace, the same thing happens in the opposite direction. Thus, it is advisable to leave a time of de-escalation of the work, even the last days to slow down, as far as possible, to be able to immerse oneself in the holidays. Otherwise, problems can be generated, especially at the physical level.
Healthy habits
As in any other situation in life, healthy habits always help. Try to eat a good diet, avoiding processed foods and fast foods, getting the necessary hours of sleep, and practicing sports and enjoyable activities. All this will balance the emotional state.
The Pandemic Bill
In any case, Dolors Liria stresses that this is not just another summer, but the first after the Covid-19 pandemic. “There are a lot of people who have had a very bad time and even those who have not been able to take a holiday in the last two summers or not as they would have liked and this year has been the most normal. However, that doesn’t mean we don’t carry the backpack of everything we’ve been through. For this reason, we can also think that this summer, that we were able to live them a little better, they become short because we needed them a lot ”.


Transition between arrival of trip and start of work

One of Dolors Liria’s recommendations is to avoid, as far as possible, returning from a trip and starting work the next day. “It is advisable to set aside a few days to tidy up, get organized and focus on the next step, start to pick up the pace gradually, do some management. In short, get back into the routine a bit before you start,” he says.

Explain the travel experience to your colleagues

How many have not heard the phrase “I can’t remember the holidays” two days after arriving… In this sense, the expert emphasizes the importance of sharing the experience with colleagues. “Many times you go straight from vacation to work as if nothing had happened and it’s convenient that the transition from one stage to another has this ritual of power. We explain it, we remember it and it also serves to live a little of this income generated by all the experiences lived. Therefore, remembering the holidays is good.

Consult a specialist if discomfort persists

If the discomfort does not stop and the person cannot recover, the important thing is to ask the cause behind it. “Assess whether our emotional well-being is very limiting to us.” In these cases, it is best to consult a professional psychologist. “Sometimes within a few sessions it’s resolved and if there’s a bigger problem it’s better to tackle it than let it get worse because those discomforts are related to anxiety and if they don’t don’t stop, they will get worse.”


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