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How to get back into the swing of the lab/office after a holiday



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It is said that around 30% of the population suffers or has suffered symptoms associated with post-holiday blues, defined as a group of common symptoms that people experience for up to 10 days when returning to work after a holiday.  And be warned, the longer you are on holiday, the harder it is to come to terms with going back to work! 

So what can you do to shake off post-holiday apathy or sadness, and generalized tiredness? How can you readjust to the crude reality of commuting, less sunlight, full working days in bustling labs/offices, lunch in a Tupperware box, abandoning flip-flops, and having to wear socks?




  • Don’t start work the day after you get back from your holiday. Come back a few days earlier and take a couple of days to readjust your sleep/eat/wake patterns before setting foot in the workplace. You could consider returning to work on a Wednesday, which would make the first week shorter and perhaps easier to handle.
  • Take some time out at midday to leave the lab/office. Go for a walk and eat out of the workplace. Use this time to disconnect and relax. 
  • Practice sports. This helps segregate those amazing feel-good endorphins and help counteract the effects of stress on your body. If you can’t get your head around sport then simply skip the lift and use the stairs. Alternatively, get off the bus or metro one stop earlier and walk the rest of the way. 
  • Treat your body kindly and eat well. Don’t let stress drive you to a caffeine overdose or to grab the first chocolate croissant that you see!


How can IRB Barcelona help you through the post-holiday blues?


You could consider signing up for a yoga class. Yoga sessions are held on Monday and Tuesday between 13:00 and 14:00 h. Those practising yoga assure me that it can increase muscle strength and tone, and improve respiration, energy and vitality. Worth a try? For more information contact

If, on the other hand, you can feel your muscles tensing from hunching over a PC for hours on end, the solution might be a Wednesday physiotherapy session. For a reasonable 16 euros for 30 min, physiotherapist Sandra de las Heras can undo the knots that have developed in your back and shoulders. You can book a session through the intranet (please read the conditions of the service).

At the end of the day, the secret key to the blues is a big smile and a positive attitude! 

About IRB Barcelona

The Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona) pursues a society free of disease. To this end, it conducts multidisciplinary research of excellence to cure cancer and other diseases linked to ageing. It establishes technology transfer agreements with the pharmaceutical industry and major hospitals to bring research results closer to society, and organises a range of science outreach activities to engage the public in an open dialogue. IRB Barcelona is an international centre that hosts 400 researchers and more than 30 nationalities. Recognised as a Severo Ochoa Centre of Excellence since 2011, IRB Barcelona is a CERCA centre and member of the Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology (BIST).