Create new reasons for joy

After a week of celebrating, feasting, meeting with friends, and giving presents, your work routine may seem pretty dull. But while New Year’s is a great excuse to have fun and recover, you can maintain a good mood and find reasons for joy year-round.

Besides, you can extend your celebrations past the holiday’s end: for instance, you can bring some treats to work and share them with your colleagues, or play Secret Santa not before the holidays, but after – on the Old New Year (also known as the Orthodox New Year, a separate Russian holiday celebrated on January 14 – Ed.). Swapping stories with your co-workers and learning where they went and what they did during their time off is also helpful. The New Year’s Eve spirit can easily be extended into the year itself. 

Practice mindfulness

We have been taught to anticipate the New Year celebrations since childhood, yet we have never been taught to be eager for Monday to come. The good news is that you can develop that skill using mindfulness exercises. We perform so many everyday actions on autopilot, but learning to be mindful of yourself in the moment can be the key to enjoying even the most basic things.

Keeping track of your emotions is essential. Several techniques can help with that – Robert Plutchik's wheel of emotions or Sergey Shabanov and Alena Aleshina’s emotional intelligence graph come to mind. Use them to isolate the particular emotion, and then try to figure out what causes it and how it influences your behavior. Only then can you move from cause to effect and try to change the situation.

For example, let’s say you caught yourself feeling down on your way to work and figured out you are annoyed with something. The next step is to try and determine the cause: is your subway car too crowded, are you sleep-deprived, or maybe your route is just too boring after so many trips? Depending on the cause, you can try to deal with it in different ways: switching your means of transportation, giving yourself more time to rest, or choosing a different route.

Look after yourself

One of the reasons you find it challenging to get back into your workflow is the disruption of your sleep cycle. If you still live by the holiday schedule and go to bed late, try and recover by gradually going to bed earlier every day. Every job is easier when you are well rested and full of energy. Additionally, physical exercises that you are comfortable with may also help – for example, swimming, yoga, fitness or even walks outside.

Credit: maybealice /

Credit: maybealice /

Don't ask too much of yourself

Working in a high-intensity environment and demanding a lot from ourselves is considered the norm – thus, we are likely to expect the same high performance level on our first week back from the holidays. But it is hardly possible to be in your best shape immediately after slowing down, so, it will take some time to pick your speed back up again. Thus, not setting your expectations too high and having a realistic idea of your capabilities are crucial in this period. Give yourself some time to breathe and do not schedule any important assignments for your first or second week back. If you are studying, spend that time going over what you’ve already learnt; if you are working, do not attempt any unfamiliar tasks. Major companies usually take these circumstances into account and give their employees a week to start gradually.

Listen to yourself

If you dread coming back to work, you should analyze why you feel that way. Maybe it is not the holidays that have ruined your disposition, but something else? For instance, do you not have good relationships with your colleagues or just generally dislike your job?

If these are not the reasons and you actually like what you do, try and recall what makes you appreciate the job you have: it may be the opportunity for self-expression, the supportive environment, or high wages. Remind yourself that you are a competent worker and that being good at your job matters to you. At the end of the day, satisfaction from a job well done and the feeling of being in one’s element are also great sources of motivation.

Credit: maybealice /

Credit: maybealice /

Make some plans

Sometimes we do not want to work and stick to a routine because it seems to lead nowhere, with us stuck running in circles. It may be useful to make plans in order not to lose track of your progress. Dream big! Make bold plans, and do so well in advance. Do you think that buying an apartment, tackling a huge project, or moving somewhere new is too risky? Think again! Our brain loves to look forward, so break down big tasks into smaller ones and start tracking your progress. Do not forget to compliment yourself and take stock of the results from time to time. Planning provides strength, inspiration, and a drive to create opportunities instead of waiting for one to come your way. And the start of a new year is just the time to do it.