Mon, Feb 02, 2009 - Page 2 News List

Doctor advises on coping with post-holiday blues

LAID BACK A psychiatrist says people must prepare themselves emotionally to face the daily grind after the nine-day Lunar New Year holiday, which ended yesterday

By Shelley Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

For many people, today is the first day back at work after a nine-day Lunar New Year holiday. Although going back to work after a long holiday may be stressful to some, doctors have tips for those who are hit hard by post-holiday blues.

During the Lunar New Year holiday, many people fall into a pattern of sleeping in and going to bed late, accompanied with holiday activities such as playing mahjong or video games with the family, eating large family meals and watching TV.

The result is going back to work with a combination of Monday and post-holiday blues — a general feeling of discomfort caused by a person’s inability to adapt to work after the long holiday, doctors said.

Doctors recommend those prone to post-holiday blues to arrange activities that are easy to achieve and to not strain the body or mind.

“First, face the reality of having to go back to work, and tell yourself that the period between the holiday and going to work is a continuous process,” said Jiang Han-guang (江漢光), a psychiatrist at Shu-tien Memorial Hospital. “Prepare yourself emotionally for a new start.”

Jiang said that those who have free time before going back to work could arrange for leisure, outdoor activities or take naps in the afternoon to increase their energy before they go to work. Preparatory work that is easy to achieve can also smooth out the first day of work. This could include making a to-do list or writing down activities scheduled for the week.

Tom Yang (楊聰財), a psychiatrist at the Cardinal Tien Hospital, said that some people drink alcohol to fall asleep because they are used to going to bed late during the holidays.

However, Yang advised against this, saying doing so may lead to waking up with a hangover and in worse condition for work.

“Post-holiday syndrome will peak again one week after the first day back to work because for those who have suffered one week of insomnia, serious problems such as anxiety and depression may surface. As a result, they have to go see the doctor for help by medication,” he said.

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