Inspire Yourself and Your Team to Beat Post-Holiday Blues
If you’ve taken time off, enjoyed downtime with family and friends, or even just indulged in holiday eating and decorating, heading back to a normal routine can come as a bit of a shock. The transition can last a day or two, or even drag on through the month with the shorter days and colder temps possibly adding to that blah feeling.
But while January is one part “back to reality,” the start of the year is also packed with potential and the excitement of fresh beginnings. Instead of succumbing to what Brits call “Blue Monday” following the holiday high and New Year’s celebrations, you can re-energize yourself with techniques that help you find inspiration to re-engage. Here are a couple strategies to get you started.
- Remember your why. There are great reasons you chose your career path, started your own business, or are preparing for a new professional journey. When you focus on the bigger picture and look at the purpose behind what you do, it can help push you beyond the immediate hurdle of returning to a regular (and perhaps very demanding) schedule and help you connect this moment to something larger. Even if your why right now is paying the bills, connect that to what it means for you, your family and your future.
To get a refresher on getting to that deeper meaning, tap into Simon Sinek, author of Find Your Why, and one of the most ardent advocates of knowing the why behind what drives you.
- Focus on people. Let’s face it, that first day back can sometimes feel like a grind. Projects you put off are there waiting for you and work may have piled up in a daunting collection of demands. Try to give yourself at least some time during those first days back to connect with colleagues before digging into that long to-do list. Or perhaps tackle a project together. You might schedule a coffee or breakfast with a favorite coworker to rekindle relationships and learn more about how someone else closed out the year, or where their top goals for 2023 might align with yours.
As a leader, take this initiative with your team and create a focused activity during the day to help people re-set and revisit key priorities. You might spring for a delivered lunch and host a welcome back session that is one part getting reacquainted and one part sharing your inspiring vision for the new year.
- Express gratitude. If you supervise other people, start the new year with sincere appreciation for what they accomplished during 2022 and how much you value their ongoing contributions. Get specific and consider doing it in public. Point to concrete accomplishments people made during the year and draw connections to how those activities drove progress on key department or organizational goals. Few things are more motivating than someone else emphasizing your importance and making clear that you are valued.
- Reset with new or renewed priorities. Nothing reenergizes like plans for the future that excite you. That’s especially true when new ideas and challenges come from within. Think about new skills you want to develop, people you want to add to your network, and initiatives you want to launch. Then, take even a small step toward bringing them to fruition. The more you see ideas come to life, the more inspired you will be to keep working on them.
- Do something for someone else. It’s possible some of your colleagues are finding it difficult to get back into the post-holiday swing of things too. If you focus on helping to ease their transition, you are likely to help yourself as well because one of the best ways to improve your mood is by caring for others. Suggest a brainstorming session on a shared project, bring in a healthy treat to help everyone recover from indulgent eating, invite coworkers to a lunchtime walk, or provide a sincere compliment on what someone brings to the team.
- Plan a few after-work rewards. Having something to look forward to at the end of the workday or end of the week can lessen feelings that you are leaving your fun-and-free-self behind with the holidays. Focus on healthy and active pursuits or self-care that truly energizes you. Schedule a walk with a friend in a well-lighted area. Even your local mall (now empty of shoppers) can provide a comfortable, bright and warm place for an evening walk with no purchase required. Book a massage, meet friends at a salad bar rather than for cocktails. Or consider an evening exercise class, post-work movie or head to your local library or café and curl up with a good book rather than vegging in front of the TV.
If the post-holiday blues stretch on or begin to feel more intense, get in touch with a mental health professional or talk with your doctor about where to go for help. If you just need some help to ease the transition, start with human connection, exercise, healthy eating, and plans for your personal and professional future that excite you.