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There are more cases of calling in sick from stress after the summer holidays

Charged up after the holiday – or just the opposite, completely drained? Get advice on how to avoid getting sick from stress during the summer holidays.

24. Aug 2022
3 min
English / Dansk

The adjustment to working life after a long summer holiday often requires a little time. But for some, the process is so difficult that they have to call in sick from stress.

“I’m always extra busy after the long holidays. That’s when the body is allowed to express itself and you start to constantly have inexplicable headaches and notice how distracted you are. Maybe thoughts about your job are going in circles, you can’t really relax as planned”, says independent business and stress coach Anne Mollerup.

“The holiday is not always enough to get through it. Some people realise that they actually don’t feel good in their everyday life, and when they come back to it, things are just piled on top of it. They are so stressed they have to call in sick.”

It’s not just Anne Mollerup’s experience that calling in sick from stress peaks after a holiday, studies have shown the same.

Amongst other things, PFA has previously taken a closer look at the phenomenon and found that there are significantly more applications for stress treatments than usual a few weeks after normal life has hit again.

Never start on a Monday

Maybe it’s too late for you this year, but Anne Mollerup strongly recommends starting work again in the middle of a week.

“Then you won’t have such a drastic transition, you can get used to normal life again in stages”.

“Try to make an arrangement with yourself or your colleagues that there will be more breaks at work after the summer holidays”.
- Anne Mollerup, business and stress coach

It similarly works to finish in the middle of a week before your holiday.

“You can work your way up to the weekend and then just have a few days to shut things down before the holidays. I always follow that advice myself”, says the coach, who has been affected by stress earlier in her working life.

Colour your tasks

“Depending on how seriously affected you are, you can try to prevent calling in sick. Amongst other things, it’s a good idea to divide tasks according to how much stress they cause you. Red tasks are the ones that are hardest on you and drain you. Yellow ones can be overcome and green ones are the ones that you appreciate and that give you energy.”

By dividing the tasks into colours, it is also easier to talk to your manager about how the number of red tasks can be reduced.

And so that there is no risk that the green tasks that ease the overall work pressure will be the ones that are removed.

Don’t forget the breaks

Anne Mollerup also finds in her coaching that many people who are stressed forget to take breaks in their work:

“Try to make an arrangement with yourself or your colleagues that there will be more breaks at work after the summer holidays. People who are stressed tend to skip them because they would rather work and get more done, but all the research shows that you get more done and are more creative when you take breaks at regular intervals”.

So you should both take short breaks and also make sure to get away from the screen during your lunch break. Also feel free to go for a short walk during the day.

“It’s quite common to experience it being a little difficult to get back to work. But if you have symptoms of stress and you are not managing to take it in stride, I would strongly encourage you to seek help from a psychologist or stress coach”.


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