After the whirlwind of family visits, vast amounts of food and new year’s parties is over, many of us are hit with the harsh reality that it’s time to go back to work. No one enjoys a return to the grindstone after an email-free week or more of lie ins and good times with family and friends, but there are lots of things you can do to ease your re-entry to the workplace.
Here are some quick ways to improve your mood and make those first weeks back more tolerable.
- Take it slow
On your first day back after a holiday, it’s inevitable that you’ll have a to-do list to break even the most industrious of spirits, but stop. Take a breath. And take it slow.
Give yourself time to ease back into your working week. Take a long lunch, see a friend for coffee, maybe even take a full or half day off. All these things will help you to feel more positive about getting back to work, and will reduce the stress you feel by giving you time to tackle your in-tray one job at a time, calmly and strategically.
Don’t give in to the pressure of replying to each email right away, and give yourself plenty of time to catch up and get back on top of your workload. For more help with his, take a look at our guide to ultimate office efficiency.
- Don’t make any drastic decisions
Now is not the time to give up your job and become a part-time scuba instructor in the Canaries. Your judgement may still be clouded by the haze of holidays and the ‘new year, new me’ spirit. Consider things sensibly and try to delay any spontaneous decisions. If you’re unhappy with the thought of coming back to work, decide if this is because there really is a serious problem with your job, or whether it’s just simply because you’re not on holiday anymore. If nothing improves after a month or more, then it may be time to consider a job or career change.
- Start planning for the future
To get you through that first week or so of back-to-work sluggishness, why not give yourself something to look forward to? Whether it’s a holiday, a concert or simply a cinema trip with a friend, it’s been proven that the anticipation of a fun event can significantly boost happiness among workers.
- Focus on a new project
What better way to keep your mind engaged and your body healthy than taking part in a hobby you enjoy, or finding a new one. Try finding interesting classes like dancing, swimming, or even archery! Volunteer one evening a week or shadow someone from another department. Keeping active is the key to feeling happy, and will help to give you a better work-life balance.
- Redecorate and reorganise
Change your environment in some way, even if it’s just one thing. You could clear your desk or buy a new plant, replace some of your old office supplies or even change your screensaver. A change is as good as a rest and can help you to feel more refreshed and positive about the weeks to come.
Clearing down desk-junk and finally getting round to deleting all those useless files on your computer can help to give you a sense of proactivity and a clearer headspace too. It’s important that the area where you spend around 40 hours a week is a happy and work-friendly place to be.
- Look after yourself
When returning to work after the holidays we sometimes struggle with the extra pounds gained eating mince pies and guzzling mulled wine, but you can get through the back to work slump more easily if you start your week by drinking plenty of water, eating healthily and getting a good night’s rest.
Don’t forget to get plenty of physical exercise, too. According to this infographic, 79% of employees reported mental and interpersonal performance was better on days when they exercised. Being physically active can help with alertness, improve mood and prevent weight gain. Click here for our guide to good office health.