Open Thread: How to Beat the Back-to-Work Blues

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I am a freelancer, which means I get no real work breaks and am also almost always on one. Also, my office is my couch. But for those of you tied to a regular nine-to-5 and/or to some kind of external office space, going back to work after a three-day weekend really sucks.


CNN reports that the back-to-work blues after a long weekend or vacation are a real and tangible thing, so much so that you might be able to classify them as a(n unstudied) mood disorder. “There is a real sense of loss that comes with this transition period that makes us all a little sad,” Dr. Angelos Halaris, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral neurosciences at Loyola University in Illinois, told the outlet. “The stark contrast of the joy and freedom of family and friend time with the drudgery of answering a zillion work emails, can be hard on your emotional well-being.”

The contrast is even more stark for adolescents dealing with going back to school. Though I always welcomed the beginning of a new school year (if not the homework), CNN says that’s not the case for everyone:

A 2017 study found adolescent depression, anxiety and feelings about everyday hassles appeared to be tied to the end and beginning of school-vacation cycles. It might come as no surprise that teens felt less anxious and depressed during the vacation.

They’ve got a list of ways to combat the vacation hangover, with tips including booking another trip, taking quick walks away from your desk if you’ve got one, starting new office/work habits, and making plans with friends outside of the job. Have a lovely Labor Day, and do leave your own back-to-work tips in the comments.




No snark here at all. I’m 50 and been around a few blocks. My best advice is to plot your own path. I’ve been working at the same company for 13 years now. I liked my job, the company is solid, but was bored. Yes, it was stressful and busy, but I was still bored with what I was doing. I was good as hell at it and everyone called on me, but jeezus I could not slog through another day of the same issues over and over again (people do not learn. ever.).

So I looked around. Found a leader in my division that was awesome, had visibility to things I had not had previously, and I made a leap. I asked my VP to move under her. My current boss was not growing me (she was 10 years younger, had less experience, and did everything via email and spreadsheet - I won’t go into the details how I ended up with her, but it was my choice - and it was my choice to be done with her). I said I needed new challenges, was willing to hold on to a few things, but I needed to grow.

It worked. I reported to that awesome gal for 4 years, learned a shitload, and now she is moving on to a new role. Our team disbanded, but what I ended up with was reporting to our Chief Architect on the leading edge of all of our company’s technology. It worked out very well.

The morale of the story: Ask for a change. Look around at what you see, and if you see something that is interesting, ask to move to it. You never know what might happen.