How to beat the back-to-work blues

2011-01-07 14:03

The holidays are now a thing of the past as schools and offices open up shop this week.

 The thought of taking on the traffic and being stuck in a building – whether a school or an office – seems like torture.

Most people will experience some of the following symptoms: insomnia, feeling sluggish, feeling sleepy during the day, indigestion, loss of appetite, difficulty ­concentrating, memory problems, clumsiness, lack of energy and­ ­irritability.

“These symptoms are perfectly acceptable when coming back from the holidays,” says Johannesburg-based clinical psychologist Dr ­Colinda Linde.

Dr Cristine Scolari, a clinical ­psychologist at Sandton ­Psychology Centre, adds: “It is ­normal for children and adolescents to feel a bit nervous about the new year as change can make youngsters feel insecure.

Children and adolescents who are generally anxious tend to have a harder time during this period. They may start worrying excessively and the worries could be irrational.”

Scolari says it is natural to feel slightly apprehensive. However, she warns people to watch out for ­anything out of the ordinary.

“You have to learn to adapt to a new routine.

It may seem difficult at first, especially if you are ­starting a new job or attending a new school, but once you develop new sleeping and waking patterns, things will go smoother,” she says.

Linde stresses that people have to be realistic and accept things the way they are.

“Instead of bemoaning the traffic and the responsibilities you’re about to take on, try to make what is work for
you,” she suggests.

Here are some ways to beat the back-to-work and school blues:

» For schoolchildren, plan ahead for the morning by laying out your school uniform, and establish sleeping and waking times.

» Try to leave earlier so that you dodge the peak traffic to give yourself enough time to drop the children off and get to work on time.

» Write down all the things you love about your job or school.

Adopt a positive attitude because there’s no reason to walk around the office getting everyone’s mood down by looking like a grey cloud.

» Just because the holidays are over doesn’t mean that you can’t go anywhere any more. Plan a mini-weekend away to keep up the feeling of the holidays.

If you’ve ­depleted your savings during the ­holiday period, cheer yourself up by starting to plan for the next festive holiday.

» Adopt a healthy lifestyle.

It will help you feel revitalised after the festive binge.

Wake up an hour early to take a walk or do some form of exercise and have a ­leisurely healthy breakfast.

If all else fails, maybe try ­looking up some of the prayers the Anglican Church has posted up on its website.

There’s nothing more calming than saying a line from the “Brinnng Brinnng” prayer for telephone conversations: “Father, as I talk to this person, give me a ­listening ear and a gracious tongue."

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