Back to work: How to beat the holiday hangover

So you began the year all positive and gung-ho, full of fabulous resolutions and good intentions. Grandiose plans to exercise more, get organised, be more productive, sleep better, eat healthier and the list goes on.

However, as the reality of the working year begins for many of us this week, hearing that alarm going off, getting back into that suit or uniform and facing the working day can be brutal.

The past few weeks (or months for some) have been spent getting well and truly into the Christmas spirit or spirits. A few too many late nights, not as many gym visits, some over-indulging and poor sleeping, which can leave us facing the new year feeling like crap.

Workplace psychology expert Dr Mary Casey, who runs the Casey Centre says, “It’s completely normal to feel stressed, depressed or totally overwhelmed when returning to work."

So for those of you returning to work, your desks, cubicles and offices for the first time in 2014, here are a few cures that might help you beat the holiday hangover.

Keep it real

Remember you aren't the only one feeling the post-holiday blues. Bosses, colleagues, clients and customers are all staring at the same harsh reality. So during your first few days back, set yourself some small and realistic goals to help you stay productive and motivated.

Outsmart the inbox

For many of us the moment we sit down at our desk we'll be confronted with a heaving inbox … an evil, overflowing receptacle of needs, requests and things to do. Experts recommend moving all the emails to a new folder, skimming through, addressing the crucial ones and dealing with the rest in time. We often cause ourselves unnecessary anxiety going through emails from our time off, only to discover later that the issues have either been addressed or rectified.

Plan ahead

Keep that out-of-office reply on for an extra day, take that time to go through your emails, catch up with colleagues and properly plan your next few weeks ahead.

Set your sights

Maybe you have been thinking about a promotion, moving companies or starting a new career. There is no better time than the present to set yourself some clear career goals and focus on kicking them!

Return to routine

The reason so many of us feel out of sorts when getting back to work is thanks to the absence of routine. The late nights and lazy lie-ins play havoc with our body clock. Experts recommend the quicker we fall back into a routine the better we will feel.

A sensible routine includes proper sleep.The Sleep Health Foundation has conducted studies that have found a lack of sleep can have a major impact on our mood, concentration, memory and quality of life.

"Poor sleep is increasingly common among Australians, with one in three people regularly struggling with their sleep,” reveals Professor David Hillman, Chair of the Sleep Health Foundation.

Another part of that routine should be healthy eating habits. No point beating yourself up over what you ate during the holiday, just get back to eating right now.

Author of Health and the City, Caitlin Reid said research into the connection between food and brain chemistry has revealed what the health conscious have known for a long time, eating healthy makes us feel good.

"The saying, 'you are what you eat' has merit. The food we put in our body controls our energy levels, mood and general feelings of health and wellbeing," says Reid.

Last but not least: exercise. The National Physical Activity Guidelines for Australians recommends at minimum 30 minutes of moderate physical activity on most days of the week.

Research shows that sitting around for long periods of time can increase your blood glucose levels, even short periods of light exercise and daily activities are beneficial for the prevention of obesity and diabetes. So get moving and burn off those Chrissy calories!

Getaway

It's so much easier to face the working year ahead when you have some fabulous exotic location or amazing adventure destination calling you. So if all else fails, and you can't bear to be back, jump on your favourite travel site during your lunch break and book that next holiday!

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