f you haven't been on holidays yet, maybe it's better that you save this article for later and make the most of your rest period. But, if you are about to end your vacation days and you only think about returning to work, or if you have just returned and you just want to go on vacation again, this article is for you.

First of all, the post-holiday return doesn't have to be painful. In fact, it should be peaceful, as you come back – or should come back – with a more relaxed, rested and refreshed state of mind than when you went on vacation. But, as this is not always the case, we want to give you some suggestions on ways to make your return more pleasant.

The pace during the first days right after you are back may be slower. This is absolutely normal: try to accept that it can be so and don't be too demanding with yourself. One of the reasons why some people see coming back to work as such a big deal is that they “think about the amount of work they will find” when they return, begins by explaining Vera de Melo, clinical psychologist and CEO/ partner of SET GOALS - Human consulting.

“The number one mistake happens when people arrive on day one with a superhero spirit and want to get everything done. This is humanly impossible and makes people feel guilty and frustrated because they don't live up to their expectations”, she continues, quoted by Visão magazine.

The same way we “take time to adapt our body and mind to the rhythm of the holidays, we cannot expect that productivity and willpower when we return will suddenly be the same, because our bodies and our brains simply can't do this”.

Another tip from the psychologist is to take 10 to 20 minutes, ideally at the beginning of the workday, to set priorities. This planning will help you to have a better idea of the tasks you have to fulfil, as well as the time you have. Planning will also help you to reduce your anxiety.

The moment before the holidays is also essential to ensure that your return is smooth. That is, if your departure was pleasant and you managed to get everything in order, it will be easier to come back with the feeling that your workload is organised. We have already given you some tips on this in this article. Remember to apply them when preparing for your next vacation.

It is not the end of your holidays

Admittedly, in Portugal, most people take their big vacation in August, but that doesn't mean it's the end of it. Maybe it's just the end of the summer holidays, but there are weekends, public holidays and certainly more rest periods until the end of the year.

According to the psychologist, “realising that it's natural to be anxious about returning to work and thinking about it naturally” are things that help the process of returning to routine.

Also, socialising with colleagues and taking advantage of “coffee breaks” - and even prolonging them - is important because “the brain is not ready to work without interruptions”, she explains. Therefore, as important as going on vacation – those moments of leisure, rest and being with family, which help to take care of mental health, often allowing us to return with new energy and motivation – is knowing how to come back from vacation. Returning smoothly is essential, without too much pressure or anxiety.

Last, but certainly not least: please bear in mind that, although this is not incredibly common, there are actually situations in which people may be experiencing the so-called “post-holiday depression”. Usually, this involves the prolonging of symptoms such as difficulty concentrating, headaches and stomachaches, anguish, anxiety and insomnia. Often, this “post-holiday depression” may be masking something deeper. Perhaps, “it doesn't mean that we miss the holidays” but that we may really have to “look for a new job”, the specialist warns. If you think you may be experiencing this, we advise you to seek medical and psychological help. Remember that your mental health is just as important as your physical one.

We hope this article was helpful for you. We wish you a happy and smooth return to routine!