Holiday Hangover: Getting Your Momentum Back at Work

Holiday Hangover: Getting Your Momentum Back at Work

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Say what you will, but the “post-holiday hangover” is a real thing, especially after the long break. Getting back to the grind can prove to be a challenge when your sleep cycle has been altered and your daily pace dialled down (or up) a notch. Readjusting to and transitioning back to your work routine may take a little extra effort when you’re foreseeing dozens of emails to reply, meetings to attend and/or calls to return. So, how do you make your way through the post-holiday haze in top form?

Hang on to your career goals and read on for tips to help you ease back into your #worklife.

Prepare for your return

While we would all like to be totally carefree during every day of a holiday, reality doesn’t quite work that way. After all, we are at a point where there are more ways for one to stay connected and “going offline or off the grid” is seen as a luxury. Yes, this means you might miss out on a day or two of your vacation time, but it will make all the difference when you’re able to run your errands, shop for groceries and prepare yourself mentally for the first week back to work without resorting to the ‘last minute’ rush.

One way to brace yourself for the onslaught of emails, phone calls, and queries, is to take a day before you get back to the office to skim through, prioritise and catch up on what’s happening in your inbox. This way, the chances of you feeling overwhelmed on the first day back are somewhat lower.

If you want to avoid crashing after the first week back to work, give this a try. Use the last day of your holiday to re-start your work routine. This includes getting up on time for your commute, skipping that glorious afternoon nap and ensuring you get to bed at a decent hour. The point here is to make the transition gradual, so you don’t end up taking an impromptu nap on your desk, for example.

Create a welcoming environment

They say it is the little things that create a significant impact. So why not apply this to your workspace? The start of a workweek is the perfect time to declutter and reorganise! Something as simple as moving your desktop or laptop to a different angle on your desk can help to keep things fresh.

Throw out anything you don’t need, stack up or file important papers and keep both your desk and drawers tidy. A clean space is sure to keep your mind just as sharp. This will also come in handy when you start on newer tasks and the paperwork that usually comes with it.


What about those who don’t deal with paperwork or work better with a full table? Declutter your PC or laptop instead. Storing files in easily identifiable folders, backing up documents or reports, clearing old downloads, managing bookmarks, and keeping your desktop neat are simple ways to refresh your devices and keep clutter to a minimum as and where it’s necessary.

Why stop there? Invest in quality stationary, bring out the motivational quotes or add one or two personal touches to your workspace if you’re able to. The bulk of your days will be spent at work, so it is important for you to create a personal space where you can thrive.

Skip ‘rise and whine’ mode, count blessings instead

Set some goals for your day and week, no matter how small. Whether it’s being friendlier to a co-worker, keeping a plant at your desk, taking short breaks or speaking up during meetings – the office is your oyster. Starting a positive habit (again, no matter how small) can make a difference if you give it a chance and attack it with enthusiasm.

Assess your to-do list, get the small stuff done first then work your way up to tackle big tasks. This gradual increase will give your momentum a boost. Before you know it, you’ll be back in the swing of things like you never left.


You can mix things up by creating a to-do list with easy, interesting, fun, time-consuming and difficult tasks. It also helps to break down those heavier tasks into smaller, manageable pieces. This way, you can stay on course and keep things interesting instead daydreaming of holidays passed.

It is important to note that while you can plan and prepare all you want, you can’t avoid the unexpected. The key here is to remain flexible. Remind yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing, why you love it and make room for ad hoc tasks while you’re at it. As much as you can’t avoid surprises, you can set aside time to handle what is thrown your way.

You made it! Now you’re ready to face that dreaded holiday hangover head-on. If all else fails, remember, “you can’t have a good day with a bad attitude, and you can’t have a bad day with a good attitude.”

Here’s to getting back into the groove of things and for those starting fresh, update your resume and kick-start your search right here at!

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