UPDATE NOTE: Are you suffering from back to work blahs? This article was originally written in 2014 but the tips are still relevant for today as you get into the back to work mode after a holiday. I am reposting to help make your ‘re-entry’ back to work easier.
I can’t believe I did that. I just caught myself in the act. Okay, confession time: I found myself wallowing in some ‘back to work blues’.
This is embarrassing. Afterall, I do love my work and I am a big champion of the positivity advantage; not to mention I coach others to adopt more empowered thinking in their work and lives. Yet, I (temporarily) fell into the back-to-work angst trap. How did that happen?
Well, I bet I’m in good company.
“I didn’t have enough time off. I need another week. It’ll be crazy busy when I get back and I’ll be back on the treadmill. I’m not ready!!”
Going back to work after a holiday can be stressful – even if you love your work. The BIGness of starting over can be overwhelming after time off – especially extended breaks like Summer holidays; Xmas/New Years; etc.
Often those ‘blues’ are reactive feelings. And with intention, we can change the dial and get back into the driver’s seat of a more positive mindset – and boost our work mojo in the process. I know I did. And I’d like to offer you a few tips so you can too.
Here are five ways to beat ‘back to work blues’:
1. Get organized and write out a list of your top priorities:
Take a few moments to identify your top priorities and anything else you need to remember to get back into work mode. Write it out and make a list.
It’s nice to take time off of work and park the work brain for a while. But the downside is that you may have lost a sense of momentum. Starting up again can feel like a heavier load to lift. That load of stuff that awaits you was tucked away for a while (a nice reprieve) but as you approach re-entry it nags at you, feels heavy. You need to detangle the ‘fur ball’ of ‘to-do’s in your mind; get it out of your head; and make a plan. And that might only take a few minutes.
Writing out a list can diffuse the anxiety and give you peace of mind with a compass for getting back to work. Remember, the brain loves a plan. Make a plan for how to re-engage in work and you’ll be rewarded with calm, clarity and more ease in getting back to work.
2. Acknowledge what went well during your break:
Dwelling on not having enough time will zap your mojo. Instead, reflect on what you did enjoy – even if it was only a brief reprieve. Savouring and practicing gratitude can give you a boost in mojo and shift you into a more abundant mindset. Go ahead and make a list of ‘what I did on my holiday vacation’. I did and was shocked when I saw my list. It was way more plentiful than I realized! This immediately dissolved that feeling of ‘not enough time off’ and allowed me to feel more grateful for the time I did enjoy. This easy strategy offers access to an ‘energy tap’ and is really only a thought away.
3. Focus on what you are looking forward to:
Refocus your attention towards the good things you are looking forward to rather than dwelling on what’s now gone (time off). The New Year (or any new season) is shiny and bright. Find the nuggets that invite you forward.
4. Create a meaningful goal:
Meaningful goals can inspire us and provide purpose to our days. Are your goals energizing you or are they ‘should’ goals or resolutions that deplete your mojo? Make them count! And check out this article I wrote about the ‘missing resolution’ that really should be on your list.
5. Mind your schedule:
Pay attention to how you schedule your first days back. Are you diving into the deep end or easing back with time to recalibrate, organize and bring the best of yourself to your work? Make it work for you.
I first wrote about ‘back to work blues’ years ago when I first ventured into blogging (posted on TGIMworklife – my very first blog). These ideas still hold and are just a few of the many that can help us get back to work after a break with more gusto, well-being and ease. And of course, do check out my new book, Ease as there are oodles more easy strategies to tame the overwhelm gremlin at any time in our work and lives.
I’d love to hear from you. What are your strategies for mitigating or dealing with back to work blues?
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Eileen Chadnick, PCC, ACPC, ABC (@Chadnick) is an ICF certified executive, career, and leadership coach; and a communications pro (20+ years of experience). Principal of Big Cheese Coaching in Toronto, Eileen is the author of Ease: Manage Overwhelm in Times of ‘Crazy Busy’, and a contributor to the Globe and Mail Careers. Eileen brings insights from communications, emotional intelligence; and the burgeoning field of Conversational Intelligence® (C-IQ®).