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A three-step guide to tackling post-Bank Holiday anxiety

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Anna Brech
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You’ve spend the long weekend mainlining craft ale in the sunshine – and suddenly work is looming once again. Here’s a few easy tricks to manage the transition

Last Thursday afternoon, the prospect of returning to the office seemed like a far-off dream. Maybe you parked a few tricky issues, or logged out of your inbox early; safe in the knowledge that a blissful four-day break beckoned.

You signed off every email with a gleeful “Happy Easter!” like it was a three-week sojourn, instead of just four days.

Alas, reality bites hard.

Post-Bank Holiday anxiety is the bigger, badder sister of the Sunday night blues. It sneaks up oh-so subtly, especially if you – like us – have been lulled into a false sense of security with the potent forces of chocolate and Mediterranean-style sunshine at play.

But here’s how to stem the tide of back-to-work negativity, once and for all:

The night before: dial your way down

Tempting as it is to carry on rocking the sunny pub vibes over a vat of Pimm’s until 10pm, you’re much better off following your mum’s advice, and getting an early night. 

Run a hot bath – a surefire happiness habit – and have a cry while you’re at it, if you feel the call: both activities are proven to be powerful stress relievers. 

You also might want to try a bit of yoga, or wind down with some escapist reading; as advocated by these successful women and their bedtime routines.

Since a calm start sets the tone for your day ahead, prep your clothes, lunch and anything else you can the night before (and perhaps consider developing a work uniform to simplify the decision process). 

A woman on holiday on the beach
Get booking a fresh holiday…

The morning of: take an hour-long lunch break

Grab some calm before the storm by arriving at work half an hour early. Not only will this strategy win kudos from your boss, you’ll also have a head-start in tackling difficult tasks first, when your energy levels are highest.

Whatever you do, don’t waste the first 90 minutes in the office dissecting your weekend over endless kitchen forays. That’s a fool’s game, meaning you simply delay the pain of getting started; and it’ll hit harder when you do.

Instead, go cold turkey and dive right into all the things you’d really rather avoid. Don’t even answer emails (unless they fall under the ‘tough tasks’ category). Just plough straight into the sharp end. 

Your reward lies in taking a full lunch break, a habit that makes us healthier, happier and more productive at work. 

You can either celebrate with a colleague with an impromptu feast in the park, or perhaps get those endorphins flowing with a lunchtime run.

Either way, make sure you actually get out of the office and take a full hour.

The evening after: book a holiday

Congrats, you’ve made it through the day; now it’s time to sort a holiday.

Research shows that the anticipation of an escape brings us more joy than the break itself. So just by the simple act of booking a getaway, you can drum up some feel-good vibes.

You don’t need to plot an exotic getaway to the Maldives to experience this planning high, either. A cosy Airbnb somewhere in Britain may do the trick (check out a little inspiration), or you could head al fresco with a treetop escape.

If funds allow and you’re feeling fancy, why not rent a private island? It’s a rather fabulous travel trend that’s fast gaining traction.

On the other end of scale, you can make camping your friend with these festival-vibe retreats, or take advantage of the host of free events that take place across London and nationwide every year.

Whether it’s a literary fest you’re after, or a day’s kayaking on the Wye, the key thing is to get it in your diary. With that done, you can wave bye-bye to post-break blues.

Images: Getty

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Anna Brech

Anna Brech is a freelance journalist and former editor for stylist.co.uk. Her six-year stint on the site saw her develop a vociferous appetite for live Analytics, feminist opinion and good-quality gin in roughly equal measure. She enjoys writing across all areas of women’s lifestyle content but has a soft spot for books and escapist travel content.