How to beat the post-holiday slump at work, according to executives

‘Tis the season for the post-holiday blues. Switching back to work mode after a few days of sleeping in, unwrapping gifts and popping champagne can be brutal. But even though the spell of holiday magic might have worn off, you don’t have to go back to work in despair. “The first week of the year is like a warm-up period,” Laith Masarweh, the CEO and founder of Assistantly, a virtual assistant staffing company, tells CNBC Make It. “Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to be 100% up-to-speed. [Just] do your best to be positive and let yourself get excited for the new year ahead.” Consider these tips from executives for a smooth return-to-work after the holidays:

Wake up earlier

It might seem counterintuitive, but waking up a bit earlier than usual on your first day back to work after the holiday break can help you ease back into your schedule and reduce some of the anxiety you might be feeling about returning. Masarweh recommends starting your day with a brisk walk or run outside, or a different short exercise, which will “really get your mind working and set you up for success.” If working out in the morning isn’t your thing, try a five-minute meditation or deep breathing exercise to calm your mind and trigger the release of endorphins, the feel-good hormones.

Set realistic expectations

Much of the dread people feel coming back to work after the holidays can be attributed to the mountain of unread emails and pressure to “hit the ground running,” says Jâlie Cohen, the head of global talent and a senior vice president at the Adecco Group, a global HR provider. During that first week back, however, Cohen stresses you should feel empowered to set clear expectations with your manager and teammates about which responsibilities you are prioritizing and how many meetings you will realistically be able to join without burning yourself out. “We’re just coming out of the holidays, nobody should expect you to have read every email and solved every issue that could have popped up at the end of the year,” she adds. “But being proactive in communicating what you are working on and what you have the bandwidth for when you’re back is helpful, because then people know exactly what to expect from you.”

Make time for fun in your schedule