1) Your body is stuck in the ‘at work’ position. Even when you aren’t at your desk, that knot in your shoulder is reminding you what position you spend most of your day in: huddled over your keyboard. ‘Let me stretch,’ your body pleads, ‘preferably in the sunshine, poolside, after a massage.’
2) HR sends you reminders to use up your annual leave. When you accepted the job and blanched at the 20 days’ holiday offering – ‘that’s never going to be enough!’ – you didn’t imagine that somehow, for one reason or another, you might not use it all. Thousands of employees end up forfeiting a few days every year – don’t be one of them!
3) Your fuse is getting shorter and shorter… Where once you enjoyed observing your fellow passengers on the tube, you are now the commuter who swears under their breath at everyone who brushes past. Take yourself away from the daily grind before you explode.
4) You notice travel adverts at every turn. January is prime time for travel commercials so you simply can’t escape images of exotic getaways. However, if we’re out of season and your eye is drawn to every poster with a palm tree, it’s time to go yourself.
5) ‘Please let today be Friday’. If your waking thought each day is ‘surely we’re at the end of the week’, only to be bitterly disappointed four days out of five, then something has got to give. Having a break from it all might not cure the Monday blues for good, but it certainly provides some temporary relief.
6) You refuse to ask others about their holiday. You’re waiting for the office kettle to boil and along comes a colleague who you haven’t seen for a while, looking tanned and rejuvenated – but you can’t bring yourself to tell them they look well. You can’t even ask where they’ve been, instead guiding the conversation around any vacations and safely back onto work ground. Envy is an enemy of camaraderie – book your own holiday now!
7) You’ve slowed down mentally. What usually takes you five minutes to do – a simple memo to your team, a shopping list – now takes fifteen.
8) You’ve become preoccupied by your pallor. Do you look in the mirror and each day think to yourself, ‘I need some sun’? Do you pore over photos where you look sun-kissed, healthy and happy?
9) You fall asleep on the sofa every night. ‘Brilliant,’ you think: ‘there’s something I actually want to watch on TV tonight’ – yet you’re unable to stay awake beyond the opening credits.
10) You don’t even recognise your beach wardrobe. Rummaging around at the back of your drawer you have come across a bikini but you swear blind you’ve never seen it before – until you spot yourself wearing it in holiday snaps from years ago. It’s time to get reacquainted.