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Have you ever found yourself feeling down and lacking motivation upon returning to work after an extended break or vacation? 

You’re not alone in experiencing this all-too-familiar post-holiday vibe. Whether you call it a holiday hangover, post-vacation syndrome, or post-holiday blues, it’s quite common to experience short-term feelings of sadness or loneliness after the holidays. It’s like coming down from a fun roller-coaster ride; suddenly, everything feels a bit quieter and a little less exciting. 

While comprehensive research remains limited, experts say the holiday hangover is a common occurrence. The sudden drop in stress hormones following any major event, like a family celebration or an international holiday, is a key contributor impacting both our biological and psychological balance. 

Coping with a holiday hangover, though, isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution, as everyone manages stress and changes in routine differently. While symptoms typically last only a short time, also known as an ‘adjustment period,’ there are some steps we can take to lessen the blow when we return to our everyday lives. 


Make time to prepare 

Before you go on leave, use the days ahead to set expectations. Inform colleagues of your upcoming leave, update them on open tasks, and activate that out-of-office message. There’s nothing better than letting people know to contact somebody else while you’re away. 

Equally important – get ready for the return to work. Before your first day back, get organised: prep lunch the night before, plan your outfit, check travel times, and pack any work essentials. Planning and prioritising before diving in is a sure way to prevent feeling overwhelmed and ensures a smoother, more manageable transition.  

Day one, we recommend the same, allow time to organise your day. In a contact centre environment, that can be difficult. Try to arrive a little before your shift, catch up with your friends, and make sure to allow yourself time to log in, check your systems, and, most importantly – breathe. When the calls begin, you’ll need to be prepared for a variety of tasks. Feeling like you’ve forgotten everything or you’re not across the latest products or updates? That’s okay. Consider opportunities for coaching or skill-based training to help you refresh, retrain, and refine your skills. Having additional learning opportunities can give you that confidence boost to get you back on track.  

Focus on your well-being 

Now that the holiday festivities are over, it’s time to focus on yourself. Establishing new routines that prioritise your well-being and activities that provide you with a sense of purpose can help break the monotony of the daily grind.

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Stay connected 

Holidays can provide a great opportunity to spend more time with family and friends. Once the holidays are over, it’s important to keep up those connections. Reaching out doesn’t have to be complicated – it could be as simple as making plans to meet up or having a quick phone or video chat. For family and friends who live far away, consider making it a part of your weekly schedule to check-in. You’ll likely find that they’re experiencing a bit of holiday hangover too, so staying connected can be a great support. 

And when you’re after the next thing to look forward to, why not try something new. Start a weekly potluck with friends or a regular DIY craft night with siblings – it’s the little things that can give you all the boost you need to feel fresh and stay positive.

Get involved

Work does not have to be just work. It’s a great place to meet people who understand the daily challenges and triumphs you face professionally. Engage in workplace activities and social opportunities – it adds a fun dimension and promotes collaboration and teamwork, creating a more positive and supportive environment.

Aside from the fun stuff, consider dedicating time to activities geared toward your professional development too. This could include attending workshops, seeking mentorship, or exploring new skills related to your job. By proactively investing in your growth, you’re enhancing your abilities while bringing a newfound enthusiasm into your work. Small changes can lead to significant transformations, making a return to work something to look forward to in the future.

Utilise all the tools available

You don’t need to manage a holiday hangover alone. If you feel like you’re experiencing extended periods of feeling low or depressed, seek support. At TSA Group, we have a fully subsidised Employee Assistance Program provider who gives free and confidential support to our employees across a range of services, from mental and physical health to financial and legal. Taking care of you should always be a priority. Check in with your employer to find out what they have available, or speak with your GP. 

Experiencing a holiday hangover is completely normal, and recognising, acknowledging, and validating your feelings is important. While our guide brings you broad tips for managing a holiday hangover, remember that the way you experience it may be different from others, and having a plan of action can shift that overwhelming feeling into a sense of preparedness. 

After all, a holiday hangover is a subtle reminder that you’ve just come back from having the best time. Carry that and bring with it the motivation to make the most of each day; even a fun day at work can form some lifelong memories.  



TSA are Australia’s market leading specialists in CX Consultancy and Contact Centre Services. We are passionate about revolutionising the way brands connect with Australians. How? By combining our local expertise with the most sophisticated customer experience technology on earth, and delivering with an expert team of customer service consultants who know exactly how to help brands care for their customers.

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