7 Jan 2019

Battling the post-holiday blues: 'Make sure you had a good night's sleep'

9:08 pm on 7 January 2019

Returning to work can be daunting, but injecting a bit of enthusiasm - even if it's fake - can help workers stay motivated, workplace motivational speaker Lisa O'Neill says.

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Photo: 123rf

Many employees - perhaps begrudgingly - will be returning to work today. It's a time people can often find their mental health suffering for a multitude of reasons.

Workplace motivational speaker Lisa O'Neill said it was important for returning workers to feel a bit of human connection.

"I think we all want to be listened to and we all want people to be interested in us ... some kind of connection is a really nice way to feel like 'oh actually this place isn't so bad and they do love me and I do have an important role here and people are really interested in me."

She said there were things people could do to make the transition back a bit more bearable for both themselves and those around them.

"Going in with some energy and some enthusiasm because no one really wants to be at work when it's beautiful weather and even half the country's on holiday.

"I think being enthusiastic - and even if you don't feel it you can fake enthusiasm, which I always enjoy ... even if it's just you're enthusiastic because you're earning money and everyone else isn't."

Some preparation can also go a long way.

"Just trying to find some kind of focus that you can get you teeth into because if you slump down in front of a laptop full of emails you'll be a bit suicidal by lunchtime, which I don't think is very helpful," Ms O'Neill said.

"Get some energy, like, make sure that you had a good night's sleep, that you actually got up early, got organised and are feeling quite good about being there, just being in charge of your state I guess.

Man with laptop

Photo: 123RF

"I like to sort of do a bit of planning around how can you hit the ground running and what focus do you want to have at work, or what's a project that you really want to nail, what's something fun you're looking forward to, who haven't you caught up with.

"It's nice and quiet at this time of year so I would use that time to kind of be in charge of your time and actually start with a bit of focus, keeping it really planned so you're not in that chaotic time where it's all go."

She said it was useful for managers and employers to also take some personal interest in and care for their staff.

"I think a lot of managers come in and they're all focused on tasks instead of on people.

"A nice, easy, gentle showing some interest in them as humans who've just been through a whole human experience at Christmas, holidays, time off, family time - everyone's got a good yarn so I think it's a nice time to ask people about themselves rather than talking about you.

She said that kind of interest and care could show staff they were valued.

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Photo: 123rf.com

"So, actually genuine interest not just that fake 'oh, happy new year, no one cares' but actually 'hey, what did you get up to, what was the best things about your holiday'."

She said it might also help managers find a connection point with staff they did not previously know about.

"You might find out they went wakeboarding, or you might find out they went tramping.

"I think it's a really important time to get some connection and actually ask staff members 'how were your holidays, what was the greatest thing, what was the best thing you got for Christmas, what was the best bit you enjoyed and actually find out something about the people that work for you."