It’s Monday, 4th January 2016 and (for many people) the official start of the New Working Year.
The holidays are over. The parties have come to an end. The decorations are down. And for many people, the first working day of the year can be a challenging time.
Maybe you’re in a job you’re not really happy with, doing things you don’t really want to be doing and just working to live. Maybe you’re secretly wishing that you could win the lottery so you can retire to an island in the sun. Or maybe you’re already looking forward to the first official weekend of the year so you can have a bit of a lie in and recover some more?
Whatever it is, returning to work after a period of festivities is challenging for anyone – regardless of whether they enjoy their jobs or not. We’re coming to the end of an amazing time with family in the sun, having loads of braai’s (barbeques for those that don’t know what a braai is), delicious home-made puddings and treats and so much more. With just one day left until the long flight home, there is that natural “sadness” that comes over you after a break.
So to help you (and us) out, we’ve put together a few helpful tips to get you feeling good again and deal with the “Back To Work Blues”
Tidy Your Work Space
Clear work spaces create clear minds and the tidier you work, the more productive you can (and will) be.
List and Prioritise
Returning to work can be overwhelming. Those pesky little items that you might not have finished off at the end of the year. New Year deadlines to meet. Targets to start working towards. Things to catch up on. At the start of your day, create a list of everything you need to do and put it in order of priority. Start working through your list, one item at a time and instead of crossing things out, highlight them when they are completed – that way, you also notice what you HAVE done rather than what you HAVE NOT.
You’ve Got Mail
Don’t try and get through all your emails at once. If you have left an “Out Of Office Responder” on, people will know that you have been away and wont expect a response immediately. If they do, then they will contact you again. Set aside periods of time to go through them all in batches.
Another point to think about – keep work emails to work hours. In this day and age, we have almost made it too easy to be available at any given hour. Boundaries are important and it is up to us to enforce and stick to them.
Go for a Walk at Lunch Time
Lunch time is for lunch time – don’t spend it stuck at your desk in an air conditioned office. Get outside, go far a walk, get some fresh air and get that heart of yours pumping – regardless of what the weather is like. If the excuses start now, then they are going to continue for the rest of the year.
Finish Work on Time
Unless you have a contract that specifically states no fixed start and finish time, then finish on time.
When working in the corporate world, I (Gareth) used to work 12 hours a day in the office and extra hours over the weekend. When I had my second heart attack at the age of 31, someone did my job while I was off sick and refused to do the extra hours – they had to employ an additional person to support because I just accepted that I had to do the work and get the job done.
Now its easy to say “well you should just ask for help” but how many of us actually work longer than we should, just to get the job done. Speak up if you feel that there are not enough hours in the day to complete your workload.
Start (and stick) to Your Personal Exercise Regime
Whether you are a member of a gym or not, you need regular exercise even if it is a simple, brisk 25 minute daily walk or jog. Get moving regularly – it has loads of benefits that we know you know about so we are not even going to go into them. Either you choose to make time to do your healthy stuff or you will be forced to take time out to do the sick stuff.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
Have a glass (or bottle) of water on your desk in plain view. Take a sip every 20 or so minutes to keep yourself hydrated. Set an alarm if you need to and when the glass or bottle is empty, refill it straight away because, more often than not, it is when the glass is empty that we don’t drink as much.
Take Regular Mini Breathing Breaks
Simple. Get up and walk around regularly throughout the day. Spend a few moments focusing on your breathing, take deep breaths in and exhaling slowly – this will oxygenate your system which in turn will increase your energy levels and improve your circulation.
Avoid Coffee, Sweet Stuff and Fizzy Drinks
The energy that these things give you is short-lived and certainly is not worth the complimentary crash (or energy deficit) which leads you to need more and more to get through the day. If you do find yourself struggling to start the day or having a droop during the afternoon, start your day off with a breathtaking ginger shot (juice together a chunk of ginger, an apple and a lemon and throw it back) or have a banana or piece of fruit in the afternoon. If you’re hydrating your way through the day, your energy levels will be generally higher.
Realise How Fortunate You Are
Right now, you have a job and are pretty fortunate. Plain and simple. Unemployment around the world is rather high at the moment and there are people out there who would give anything to have a job and be able to support and provide for their families.
Watch Your Thoughts
If you’re that unhappy, then the only thing that can change the situation is YOU – if you’re not prepared to take the steps to finding your dream job or situation, then you need to look at, and change, the way you view your current job.
Create some time in your life to volunteer somewhere, doing what you would really love to do just so that you can see if it could be something you enjoy doing full time. Sometimes, we’re so unhappy in our present situation, we think anything else will be better – we then get “anything else” and realize that it isn’t what we thought it would be.