It's a sunny January morning, perfect for a day at the beach and a barbecue. The only trouble is, your summer holiday has come to an end and despite still finding sand in the most ridiculous places, it's time to get back to the grindstone.

The week-day traffic is back to its worst, the emails are piling up and you have to go to a meeting about a meeting.

As many Kiwis head back to work after the Christmas and New Year break this morning, the Mental Health Foundation has some tips to beat those "back-to-work blues".

"Often when we return to work after the longer Christmas break, we can feel lethargic or unmotivated," said chief executive Judi Clements.


"Some people ... find themselves in a bad mood, and start feeling stressed."

The foundation suggests you:

Create a harmonious work environment
Have photos of friends and family on your desk.

Think about your personal growth.
Are there opportunities for professional development you could seize?

Review your job
Is it still fulfilling your needs? Ask your manager for a job review.

Take time out
Get at least 15 minutes a day to yourself.

Get organised
Get up earlier so you don't have to rush.

Look after yourself
Sleep more. Eat well so you think clearly and feel less stressed.

Pay certainty the winner

Kiwis prefer a guaranteed pay rise over a performance-based bonus even though they could get more cash by getting the bonus, research shows.

A survey of 1015 people by job search company Seek found 81 per cent would prefer a guaranteed 5 per cent pay rise over a 10 per cent performance-based bonus.

For the average advertised salary on Seek of $73,873 the pay rise option would result in a rise of $3693.95 the next year. But the bonus would net $7387.

The survey did find there was a tipping point. If the bonus went up to 20 per cent, then the number of people opting for it jumped from 19 per cent to 49 per cent.

Of those who did have performance bonus pay built in, 74 per cent were confident they would get the money. The average bonus was $7728.60, Seek data showed.

But it seems time off work is more attractive to many Kiwis than getting more money - most preferred four days extra leave to a 10 per cent bonus.

- Tamsyn Parker