Why it takes almost a week to function properly after the Christmas break

Feeling the back to work blues after Christmas? We hear ya! [Photo: Getty]
Feeling the back to work blues after Christmas? We hear ya! [Photo: Getty]

Hands up who wanted to sob into the pillow when their alarm went off yesterday morning? Sadly we’ve still got a few more days of the festive hangover to go, because science has revealed that it takes an average of four days to fully adjust to work after the Christmas holiday.

The study, of 2,000 adults, revealed that most of us won’t start to function properly until we’ve survived almost an entire working week.

For many of us, adjusting to getting up when it’s still dark and actually having to use our brain for something other than Pictionary is taking its toll.

Others find it hard to get their fitness on when heading to the gym means it’s going to be full of newbies on a new year, new them health kick.

The study, commissioned by working animal charity SPANA, also found that the feeling of having nothing to look forward to threw a spanner in the motivational works for one in six of us struggling to get back in the swing of normal life.

Almost half of us (44%) claim to be suffering from a bad case of the January blues, while a further half (52%) said that during the early part of the month, they would only be be at work in body, but not “in mind”.

For three in 10 employees the return to work feels so wretched because they know it will be some time before they can put on their out-of-office, while a fifth said they were dreading coming back to an off-the-scale to-do list.

And it seems the blues could be catching as a quarter are not looking forward to the likelihood that everyone else will be miserable about being back to work.

It’s little wonder therefore that more than a fifth of adults have considered calling in sick for the first few days back to work.

The lack of social life is also having an impact on our mood this January with almost half those quizzed claiming to have no intention of making plans in the first month of the year.

Reasons for the social blackout include being too grumpy, while a third have blown their pennies on a festive spend-up and now have no money to go out.

It will take four days for us to get back to normal after Christmas [Photo: Getty]
It will take four days for us to get back to normal after Christmas [Photo: Getty]

Commenting on the findings Geoffrey Dennis, chief executive of SPANA said: “Going back to work after time off can be a shock to the system – especially after a sustained period of parties, lie-ins and relaxation.

“However, most of us are fortunate to be returning to jobs that we feel comfortable in, with decent colleagues and reasonable working conditions.

”As the holiday hangovers kick in, it’s important to keep some perspective and remember that our working lives could be unimaginably worse.”

Top 30 reasons Britons said they struggle to get back in the saddle

1. The weather is horrible

2. The days are still short and dark

3. There are still months left of winter to go

4. You feel tired and sluggish

5. January feels like the longest month of the year

6. The excitement of Christmas has passed

7. Re-adjusting to the boring routine of everyday life / the daily grind

8. Feels like ages before you will have any time off work again

9. You feel like there’s nothing to look forward to

10. You find it hard to motivate yourself to do any exercise

11. You have eaten so much over Christmas you find it hard to stop

12. The TV is rubbish

13. You can’t do anything of interest until January pay day

14. You’ve picked up an illness after Christmas

15. You can no longer blame ‘the holidays’ for eating/drinking too much

16. All the work you said you’ll get back to after Christmas is too much

17. You can’t be bothered to take the tree/decorations down

18. January sales means you want to spend more money – but then you realise Christmas has left you broke, so you’re depressed again

19. You feel like you’ve socialised enough over the Christmas period to last a lifetime – hence seeing any more people is just effort

20. Clients and customers are a challenge to work with

21. The gym is packed with people on a new year fitness kick

22. Kids are also struggling to get back into routine

23. Everyone else seems to be back on it, but you aren’t quite ready

24. Social media is full of weight loss plans and New Year’s resolutions that you can’t relate to

25. No point in going out – as everyone is doing dry January

26. Your house is full of Christmas presents – many of which are unwanted

27. You start to experience chocolate withdrawal symptoms

28. Kids are a nightmare because they’ve been spoiled over Christmas

29. Kids have got used to late nights and late mornings which means getting them ready for school is even harder

30. Having to face all the people you behaved badly in front of at the Christmas party

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