What exactly is Post-holiday Syndrome?

After the holidays there is a lot of talk about the post-holiday blues or syndrome. It is a disorder proper that is characterized by a deep feeling of sadness, apathy and lack of motivation to join the daily routine after the end of the holiday period.

Although it can affect everyone, there are certain population groups that are at higher risk of suffering from this syndrome. They are those people who show resistance to the weakest frustration, as well as those workers with a longer vacation period and / or those who do not like their work for any reason.

What is post-holiday syndrome?

It is known as post-holiday syndrome to an adjustment disorder that presents symptoms very similar to those of stress. It occurs when, after a rest period with a longer duration than usual, the person is unable to face the routine again.

In general, this syndrome is directly linked to the active population. However, there are those who suffer for the simple fact of returning to their daily lives, although this does not mean returning to the job.

Who does the post-holiday syndrome affect?

Well, it is estimated that 37% of workers suffer or have suffered at some point in their lives this disorder to rejoin the world of work after the return of the holidays. The remaining 63%, despite not suffering post-holiday syndrome as such, does experience some stress or fatigue in relation to adaptation to work.

This disorder usually occurs in countries where employees enjoy long vacation periods.  This is the case of Spain, since in a high percentage of cases the annual rest break is concentrated in the summer months.

Causes of post-holiday syndrome

There are a number of causes, beyond the return of vacations, which can give rise to post-holiday syndrome.

Excessive planning

It is important to organize the return to routine and plan the tasks to be done both in the personal and professional. However, excessive planning can lead to this disorder in those cases in which the person is unable to cover all the tasks that must be carried out.

Bad work environment

The return to routine is not to anyone's liking. However, in those cases in which an employee feels comfortable with what he does and has a good relationship with his co-workers, everything is easier.

Thus, the bad work environment may be another possible cause of post-holiday syndrome. Moreover, today is one of the most frequent.


The return to routine after a holiday period is something that must be addressed in the most positive way possible. However, there are those who choose the opposite and flood their heads with negative thoughts.

Symptoms of post-holiday syndrome

In general, the post-holiday syndrome does not last longer than two or three weeks. After that time, the vast majority of people who suffer from this disorder after returning to the routine begin to adapt to the routine, thus improving their quality of life.

The symptoms affect both the body and the mind of those who suffer from this disorder, and are very similar to those of stress or anxiety. The most prominent feature of all is the low mood; the person feels down, and even does not feel motivated by activities that he used to be passionate about.

In addition, the post-holiday syndrome leads to total apathy with close people and co-workers, which can harm social relationships to some extent. Lack of energy is another of the signs of this disorder. The person feels tired even in the early morning after having rested properly.

And, finally, before the incorporation into work, who suffers from this disorder is unable to face the situation, which can lead to anxiety crisis.

Effects on your Health

In the most acute cases, there are those who need professional help since the post-holiday syndrome gives rise to a picture of acute stress. A relatively serious condition that can lead to symptoms such as anxiety, palpitations, sweating, tremors and irritation.

Post-Holiday Syndrome in Children

Although it is considered a disorder of the adult population, the truth is that the post-holiday syndrome also affects the youngest. It is estimated that 7% of children suffer some type of physical and / or psychological consequence after the end of the holidays.

The most common symptoms in children are: fatigue, lack of appetite, sadness, irritability, sleep disorders and lack of attention and concentration in class.

Parents can put a lot of their part so that the return to school is more bearable. The most important thing is to look for the positive side of the situation and talk about it with your children:

reencounter with your friends, share hours of games, learn new things ... Of course, it is important that a few days before they are adjusting the schedules little by little, advancing a bit the time to go to bed and get up.

Preparing the return to school as a family is also a good idea. The little ones love to buy the material, the equipment ... It is essential to make the children part of the preparations.

And, finally, highlight that the attitude of parents is very important. The adaptation process must be done together. Thus, in no case should parents regret over and over again the routine and the negative consequences of it.

Tips to prevent it

There are a number of tips that are worth taking into account to prevent this disorder as much as possible.

  • Activity during the holidays: as much as possible, we must practice sports during our holidays to keep us active. If for example we have scheduled a few days at the beach with our family, we can spend the first hours of the day walking or running along the shore.
  • Back home: although we all want to make the most of our vacations, experts insist on the importance of returning home a few days before they are finished. The reason is that in this way we can prepare both physically and mentally for the return to routine.
  • Adapt schedules: both in the case of adults and children is important that we adapt to the new work schedule and / or school progressively. In this way the incorporation is much less expensive.
  • Back to routine: although not in all cases is easy, we should do what possible because the return to routine is as relaxed and quiet as possible, avoiding stress.

Tips to overcome this syndrome

If the disorder has already occurred, there are a series of tips to overcome it in the best possible way.

  • Accept reality: the first thing to face the situation is that we are able to accept reality; the holidays have come to an end and we must return to the routine. Feelings such as sadness or anguish are a functional response of the organism to changes. Thus, the fact that we allow ourselves to mourn will not change our obligations, although it can help us to live it in a more relaxed way.
  • Realistic goals: the way of life is based on objectives to be achieved. Thus, after the return of the holidays we must set an objective, which must be realistic and achievable; from it we can establish two or more secondary objectives. In this way we will have a greater sense of control, thus avoiding stress and anxiety.
  • Organization: knowing how to organize is essential, and when you come back from vacation more than ever. Sometimes it is impossible to finish the pending tasks for the day; in this case, the best we can do is write them down in a list and do them as soon as possible.
  • Enjoy free time: the fact of returning to routine does not mean that we cannot enjoy our free time in the company of whoever we love the most. These moments can be of great help so that the incorporation into the working world is more bearable.