Returning to work with the Monday Blues is always a little tough. But returning to work after the holiday season is far more difficult for many workers.

Ideally, employees return to the office with the same enthusiasm they have for their ambitious New Year resolutions. They’re excited to start fresh and make the upcoming year the best one yet. But in reality, most employees struggle to re-adjust to a normal workday schedule after weeks of holiday parties, vacation days, and lots of friend and family time.

Half are nostalgic for the people they won’t see again until their PTO replenishes and the other half is exhausted from hosting or attending stressful gatherings. You notice low productivity, extended coffee breaks, and a general lack of motivation as employees count the days until the next holiday.

Post-Holiday Blues are very real and it’s your job to help your employees counteract their effects and stay engaged throughout the post-holiday slump.

Set attainable goals.

Adding insult to injury, many employees return to work to face yearlong forecasts and never-ending strategic meetings. Tackling huge projects with long-term results can be difficult to grasp – after all, they’re just trying to make it to lunch!Instead of having your entire staff face massive goals and annual plans, get your management team to break these down into bite-sized pieces. With smaller benchmarks, your team will become increasingly more motivated with each accomplishment.

Combat SAD.

Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, zaps energy and increases moodiness. Impacting about 5% of adults in the United States, it can actually have a tremendous impact on your workforce, especially post-holiday.Remedy this by encouraging your employees to get up and get out. Set walking meetings, have lunch outside, and enlist colleagues for a quick mid-afternoon walk around the parking lot. Not only will light exercise and some vitamin D help brighten moods, it’s also beneficial for post-holiday waistlines.

Live in a region where getting outside isn’t an option? Indoor exercise is still an effective remedy against SAD effects. You may also want to research light therapy options for your office or schedule a fun, tropical event for your staff. Lunchtime Hawaiian-themed ukulele lessons anyone?

Give them something to look forward to.

One of the best things about the holiday season is all of the anticipation. Between trips, parties, and Christmas morning, there always seems to be something fun to await.Returning to work in January with nothing but the long, cold winter ahead doesn’t fill your employees with eagerness as much as it does dread. Plan a fun, inexpensive company outing, in-office massages, or a pizza party lunch to break up the regular workday with something worth anticipating. This will also help remind employees that they can bond and relax together throughout the year too and not just during the holiday season.

Remind employees that they matter.

A small ego-boost can go a long way towards motivating workers. And a happy, driven employee often has a more infectious attitude than the Negative Nancies in the crowd.Show your employees how much you appreciate them with a hand-written note. In recognizing a job well done, you boost morale, increase motivation, and strengthen the connection between the employee and the company.

The post-holiday blues don’t last forever, usually only a few days to a couple of weeks. During this time, go the extra mile for your staff, so they are engaged and motivated to do the same for you throughout the rest of the year.