Lets face it, once the holiday family visits, sights and smells, and festive get-togethers have flown by and the New Year's Eve celebrations have come to an abrupt end, many of us are slapped in the face with the harsh reality that we have to get back to work.

The preparation and anticipation, the hype of the holidays, and spending time with family, sleeping in, and eating way too much food can leave you feeling sad, overweight, poor, and dreading your return to work. Here are 11 ways to lighten your mood and make that first week back a bit more tolerable.

1. "Out-of-Office" message

Extend your "Out-of-Office" email message for one or two days into your week back to work, giving yourself a chance to catch up.

2. Slow and easy

Don't go full bore your first day back--give yourself time to ease into your workday and thoughtfully consider issues one at a time. Consider leaving a bit earlier than usual your first day back. If possible, take a half or full day off your first Friday back.

3. Strategize your return

If at all possible, try returning to work on a Thursday or Friday with the weekend fast approaching. Monday won't seem nearly as bleak if you have a good head start.

4. Take a break

Treat yourself to frequent walks in the fresh air, stretches at your desk, or meet a friend for coffee or lunch during those first couple days back.

5. Show and tell

Share your photos and videos of your time away with your co-workers. Relive those moments and relish the memories.

6. Laugh

Laughter is a mood-booster--releasing endorphins that make us feel happy again. Rent a funny movie, hang out with an extremely funny friend, or download a funny book.

7. Redecorate

Give your workspace or desk a complete overhaul. Remove everything from your desk and walls and start over. Change the position of your desk if possible. Replace some of the old office supplies and equipment with new. Purchase a new plant or a bowl with a fish. Change your screensaver on your computer to something that relaxes you or makes you smile. Replace old photos with new--amazing how dusty and faded those old photos get.

8. Fun jar

Place a jar on your desk with the words, "My next vacation/fun," and empty your extra change into it daily.

9. Future fun

To get you over the hump of returning back to work post-holiday, plan something fun. Whether it's movies with a friend, a concert, or planning your next vacation--give yourself something to look forward to.

10. Try something new

Is there something you have always wanted to try? This is a great time to start something new once or twice a week whether its rock climbing, flying lessons, or training for your first 5k walk/run--the possibilities are endless.

11. Overall health

When returning to work after the holidays we sometimes struggle with the extra pounds gained while consuming copious amounts of holiday treats. Your return-to-work-slump won't feel as bad if you begin your week eating healthy, drinking plenty of water, and taking the time for walks, fresh air, exercise and a good night's rest. Who knows, you just may take off all that extra weight your first week back!