Back-to-work blues cure

While there ‘ain’t no cure for the summertime blues’, it seems one workplace psychology expert has the back-to-work blues beat!


Many of us find it challenging to return to an active work routine and even feel stressed, depressed or totally overwhelmed when returning from holiday.

However, psychologist, Dr Mary Casey, says by identifying underlying issues such feelings can be overcome.

“The underlying problems can be many. Our feelings are most vigorously affected by interpersonal relationships. That is why you should start with examining your work relationships to identify the cause of your work blues.”

The CEO of health and education organisation, Casey Centre, Dr Casey has outlined here seven strategies to identify and tackle this common ailment:

You dislike the work you do: Maybe it’s time to re-evaluate job satisfaction. Ask yourself if you’re being challenged and if you believe in your work. If you’ve been dissatisfied for a year or more, it could be time to discover what you do like. Learn new skills by embarking on some study or look for a new role where existing skills can be applied.

You don’t know how to deal with difficult people: People only do what they do because they can. It is well worth developing skills to deal with a difficult colleague or manager. Control your emotions around any difficult person, set boundaries within acceptable limits, don’t take anything personally, remain professional, and channel your attention into areas of work that will reward you personally and professionally.

You dislike the work culture: Maybe you’re stuck in a negative work culture or you’re just bored. Find out what exactly bothers you. Adopting an attitude of gratitude may be all that is needed. Identify the positive attributes of your job – regular income, stability, mentoring and/or work satisfaction. If you can’t identify positive aspects, then maybe it’s time for a change.

You’re often overworked: Most dread starting a new working year if they know it means long hours all over again. Look into why so much work is being delegated to you. Communicate with management if more resources are needed and say how those resources would benefit the business.

Identify where and how you can delegate to another. Are you are doing other people’s work for them and has it become a habit? Take responsibility and stop immediately. It is your health that suffers in the long run!

You don’t speak up for yourself: This can stunt career progression. People will leapfrog you into better positions; they will take credit for the work you have done; your ambitions will go unnoticed; career acceleration will be slower. This leads to job dissatisfaction in the long term. Remember, you’re employed for a reason – you have expertise, skills and experience. Find a course on assertiveness (such as the ones conducted by the Casey Centre) and learn how to confront issues and speak up for yourself.

You lack confidence: Self-confidence is the single, largest quality that opens doors in the workplace whether that door is a promotion, the best projects, or working alongside the most talented people.

Confidence is required to befriend and align oneself with the most important people in the company who will reward you. If you don’t have confidence in yourself, neither will your boss or co-workers, leaving you stagnating in your career growth. Could this be the deep reason why you dread returning from holidays? Shop around for a good course on confidence building.

You allow people to walk over you: This is something for which only you can be accountable. It is up to you to have clear boundaries as to what is acceptable to you and what is not acceptable. You need to be perfectly clear on how you will be spoken to and treated. If you are not clear, others will walk all over you.

Dr Casey says that while most work-related issues can be resolved, those who feel their situation cannot be improved may be better off seeking a new role or workplace.