Four out of 10 suffer post-holiday stress

Jul 23 2010 by Brian Amble Print This Article

If the thought of what's waiting for you at work when you return from your summer holiday is enough to make you wish you hadn't gone away in the first place, then you're not alone.

According to the UK-based Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM), four out of 10 managers return to work more anxious than they were before their break, with the waiting deluge of emails causing the greatest worry.

The ILM's survey of 2,500 managers found that a third of managers work while on annual leave (a surprisingly low figure, if other research is anything to go by), with eight out of 10 of these frequently responding to emails, almost half answering phone calls and one in 10 going into the office.

Fears over job security and the ease of remote working was preventing those respondents from fully switching off during their holidays, with two-thirds admitting to checking their smartphone or PDA device at least once a day while away.

The survey also revealed that workers are taking more time to unwind from work stresses once out of the office. Half the respondents said it took them at least two days into their holiday before they started to feel some relief from the strains of work.

Of course, you need not follow a relaxing holiday with intense stress if you plan accordingly and ease your transition from a holiday state-of-mind to one of working. For example, when you plan your holiday, take time to plan your return. Maybe return from holiday a day or two before you have to return to work. This could help "ease" you into the work schedule and getting back to the grind.

Second, you can start planning your next holiday as soon as you return from this one. It gives you something to work for and something to look forward to. It provides a "light at the end of the tunnel" and may help the return to work seem more bearable.

Third, call a colleague before you come back. While thinking about work when you are on a holiday isn't much fun, getting the low-down on what's happened while you were gone can stave off any potential surprises.

And bring something back from your holiday and keep it on your desk. It can help ease stress and bring back pleasant memories when work starts getting to you.

Finally, a reminder of something Peter Vajda wrote earlier this year:

"Taking time for one's self is a non-negotiable "must" to maintain a healthy mind, body and spirit. It's impossible to run a car engine on all cylinders 24/7, 365. The human body, mind and spirit are no different."