Spark your joy: Banish the back to work blues

4 Jan, 2016


Take it easy. Spark your joy. That’s the message the Mental Health Foundation (MHF) wants you to take on board to help alleviate any "back to work blues" you may be experiencing and set yourself on track to flourish in 2016.

It’s a beautiful January morning, the sort that has "beach and BBQ" written all over it. Only trouble is, your summer holiday has come to an end and despite still finding sand in the most ridiculous places, it’s time to get back to the grindstone. The emails are already piling up, you have to go to a meeting about a meeting and don’t even get started on the traffic.

If you’re feeling less than enthused about this, you may be experiencing what is often referred to as the back to work blues.

“Often when we return to work after the longer Christmas break, we can feel lethargic or unmotivated,” Judi Clements, chief executive of the Mental Health Foundation, explains.

“Some people feel resentful and find themselves in a bad mood, and start feeling stressed.”

The MHF recommends you pace yourself in your first few days back at work and keep doing the things that bring you joy.

“Take advantage of the lighter evenings and arrange social activities with your family and friends so you have something to look forward to after work and at weekends. That may be enough to help you settle in and feel optimistic about the future,” Ms Clements says.

The Mental Health Foundation’s top tips to banish the back to work blues:

  • Create a harmonious work environment – Organise your workspace; have some flowers or photos of friends and family on your desk or work area.
  • Think about your personal growth – Do you have any skills that you would like to develop further? Are there opportunities for professional development you could seize this year?
  • Review your job – Is it still fulfilling your needs and does it still challenge you? Ask your manager for a job review. Speak about your wants and needs for the role. Discuss any areas of work you are finding difficult.
  • Take time out – Make sure you have at least 15 minutes a day to yourself. Go for a walk or read a bit of a good book.
  • Get organised – Get up earlier so you don’t have to rush; set aside time for processing emails; break large projects into small steps.
  • After work activities – Arrange sporting or social activities with friends and family so you have something to look forward to in the evenings or at weekends.
  • Look after yourself – get more sleep, take part in more physical activity and eat well so you think more clearly and feel less stressed.

While it’s not uncommon to feel a bit low when you first get back to work, it’s not usual for this feeling to continue. If you do continue to feel this way for more than two weeks or you feel down and tearful for no apparent reason, please speak to someone you trust or see your GP for help. You can also phone the following numbers for advice:

  • Lifeline: 0800 543 354
  • Youthline: 0800 376 633
  • Depression helpline: 0800 111 757.


For further information or comment, please contact:
Sophia Graham
Communications & PR Specialist
021 740 454 or