After more than a week of staying in my pyjamas until lunch, eating all kinds of food at all kinds of hours, and being free to go for lovely long walks in the countryside with my favourite people, all of a sudden it’s January and time to go back to work!
While I am fortunate to love where I work and enjoy my job, it doesn’t seem to make it any easier to bounce back into the office after the holidays.
Last year, I took some time out of work to help me manage stress and anxiety when I was struggling. On my return to work I was fortunate to be supported in taking time to get back up to speed.
This January, I’m going to make sure I put in place some of the things which helped me return to work last year. But I think in January it’s important to remember that everyone probably feels pretty similar about returning to work, so go easy on yourself and others!
Here are some of my top tips.
Eat well and get organised
I try to make sure that the night before the big first day back, I’ve had a nice healthy dinner, and got everything I need ready for the morning, including a decent breakfast in the house and milk for tea. I try to get to bed at a reasonable time and read something to help me relax and drift off.
Make time for yourself
Be kind to yourself in the first week back, make sure to take your lunch breaks and leave work at a reasonable time so you can enjoy your time outside of work.
Book a meeting with your inbox
I find it helpful to block out some time to tackle my inbox, reading through and sorting my emails. If I can, I do this for the first day back so I can delete, file information and prioritise my responses.
Prioritise and set goals
Decide on a few things you want to achieve before the week is out. Take time to make a list to help manage the priorities for the days ahead.
I’m going to declutter my desk and notepad first week back – recycling or shredding old meeting notes which I’ve been carrying around but haven’t had time to sort through.
Make the most of supportive colleagues
I sometimes struggle with feeling guilty that my colleagues have had to cover some of my work, or get involved with unexpected questions from my clients when they’re already really busy.
I remind myself that we are all great at supporting each other, and how I am always happy to support them when they take time off. If someone has been covering me, I might organise a quick catch up to get an update on what’s been going on so I feel comfortable taking it forward.
Look ahead to what you enjoy at work
I try to think about the things I most enjoy about work – working with my colleagues, or tasks which I find most interesting. Sometimes it helps me to write down what these things are to focus my mind and remind me about all the exciting things coming up in the year ahead.