WHAT a bonanza.
Two long weekends in a row, thanks to Christmas and New Year's Day falling on Sundays.
But now comes the painful aftermath. You may wake tomorrow, in the afterglow of a great long weekend counting down to the New Year, and suddenly it is like a double dose of Monday morning blues, only on a Tuesday.
Experts warn that the post-holiday blues is not only widespread, but can lead to complications such as depression unless tackled head-on. They also say these feelings can be a sign something should change for the person on the job front.
Says consultant psychiatrist Ang Yong Guan: 'Post-holiday blues are very common. You can learn how to deal with it before it becomes serious.'
He suggests: 'Start prioritising on the first day at work. The moment you prioritise your workload, you are already in control. Once you are in control, stay committed.'
Mr Josh Goh, assistant director of corporate services at recruitment firm The GMP Group says those hit by a post-holiday or Monday morning funk are often not satisfied at work.
'Those who are very frustrated or who are really stressed out at work will get it. They know they will face the same set of challenges and the same problems that they can't solve when they go back to work on Monday.''
Whatever the case, afflicted workers should tackle their fears head on, he says.
One positive step could be finding something fun or meaningful to do on Sunday, such as watching a diverting blockbuster movie or spending time with the family rather than fretting about work.
Or perhaps do something to make the first day back at work itself a bit more palatable - plan a dinner or movie date that you can look forward to after work.
You could choose something fun on Monday morning if that is possible, or start a project on Friday instead of Monday.
Or, if you are higher up the corporate ladder, you could try to not schedule a major meeting or a key deadline on Monday morning so that people don't spend their weekend worrying about it.
For the worst sufferers, the sinking feeling may set in the day before as work looms large.
Someone I know tells me that pretty much every Sunday, she already starts to feel a bit sad that the weekend is ending.
'Monday, I will feel I am going to go through the weekly grind again. I get up, shower, change, wait for the bus, take the bus and by the time I reach the office, I already feel worn out,' she says.
Dr Ang says the pessimists or worriers are more prone to the blues but they can help themselves by learning how to manage their time better or by exercising regularly, for example.
Executive coach Paul Heng says the Monday morning blues may be just a symptom of a wider malaise. 'If you enjoy what you do at work, there should not be any kind of 'blues', any day of the working week,' he says. 'If I have a subordinate who tells me she has the Monday blues, I will spend time with her to find out how she is doing in her job and potentially nip motivation-related problems in the bud.'
He says he has found some business leaders do not spend adequate time to engage with and get to know staff better.
A lot of firms make out that they want to engage employees, but do not follow through, says Mr Goh. 'I have come across SME bosses who are concerned about their staff. There is a genuine concern and that's where the engagement comes in.'
He says for some people, post-holiday blues may point to a more serious life problem.
Those who suffer serious bouts should get to the bottom of why they are feeling so miserable. It may be time to make some changes, perhaps find a new job. If not, in some cases, it could lead to depression, he warns.
Dr Ang adds: 'If you keep dreading going back to work, it is perhaps a tell-tale symptom of job burn-out and if that is not handled well, it could lead on to clinical depression.'
'That's when you reach a point where you can't function normally. So you go on MC and when you are on MC, you do nothing. You can't sleep, can't eat well, have no interest in anything. A week later, you lose weight and you feel suicidal.'
Such depression is no joke and it will not go away by itself but the good news is that it is highly treatable. And the earlier you seek treatment, the more effective it will be.
But if it is an ordinary bout of Monday morning blues, you can conquer this weekly torment. 'Examine your belief systems and see what needs to be changed,' says Dr Ang. 'For instance, tell yourself: 'work cannot kill me'. And see what you do as a challenge, not a chore.'
Think positive and start the new year on a happy note.