Feeling the post-holiday, back-to-work blues? You're not alone

By Spectrum News Staff,
Last Updated: Tuesday, January 02, 2018, 12:04 PM EST

Going back to work after the holidays often leaves many feeling blue.

  • Many people say they feel down just after the holidays
  • Experts say it's not uncommon to feel this way
  • Cold, dreary weather adds to the feeling of gloom

Doctors don't officially have a name for this, but social media users have dubbed it the #backtoworkblues or a "post-vacation hangover."

Experts say it's common to feel down after holiday breaks.

"There is probably more than one good reason for this," Dr. Angelos Halaris, professor of psychiatry and behavioral neurosciences at Loyola University in Illinois, told CNN.

"It's more than likely during the 10 to 14 days of the holiday season with Christmas and New Year's, we tend to go overboard even in the best sense — overeating, overdrinking and not sleeping enough — that all sets the stage for the post-holiday crash."

Dr. Randy Hillard, a professor of psychiatry at Michigan State University, said reality can fall short of expectations.

"We see this in study after study. People tend to have high hopes coming into Christmas, thinking time with their family will be like the Waltons or thinking Santa will bring us all that we want, but it never totally works out that way even if it was a really good holiday," Hillard said.

"That can leave you feeling let down, too. We see this every year with a lot more calls to the crisis line, a higher number of deaths, and there are even studies that show the letters to Dear Abby sound much more depressed after the holiday."

Winter adds to this perfect storm of gloom. It gets dark early. Much of the world is cold. It's wet. Seasonal affective disorder can be particularly acute if you enjoyed a sunny beach vacation.

So what can you do to bring back that holiday feeling, even if you're at the office? Try not to dwell on work, think positive thoughts and know most people are in the same boat.

Information from CNN was used in this report.