How to survive your first day back at work

This aticle first appeared on January 7, 2013

Remember, just a few weeks ago, how your world was full of possibilities? You had the new year and all those days of holidays ahead of you.

And here you are back at work, where things look pretty much the same as they did when you left the office into that world of endless opportunities just a short while ago.

It’s not all bad. Take comfort in the knowledge that many other Australian women are feeling exactly the same way having returned to work today. As well as the fact it’s January, it’s summer, and there’s still plenty of time to do everything you want to do this year.

These five strategies should help:

  1. Incorporate a summertime activity into your working week. It could be a dip in the sea, a swim at the local pool, a bike ride, or even kayaking early one morning before work. Try it, once a week, for the next four weeks, by yourself or with the family or friend. You never know – it could become a lifetime habit.
  2. Introduce the mid-weeker. Much like the summertime activities, this is an excellent way to break up the working week by socialising with friends or doing the “date night” you’ve been planning with your partner. Get out for dinner or even an afternoon drink on a Wednesday or Thursday night – anything to shift up the routine.
  3. Get out of the rut. One reason January can feel a little depressing is because you quickly realise all the stuff you were going to change about your life in December hasn’t actually changed yet. But it can. January, when things are a little quieter at work, is a great time to start planning your next big thing: a career move; promotion; buying property; getting fit. These are not changes that’ll happen overnight but they are goals you can work for, and use to make the next few months a little more optimistic by planning just how you’re going to achieve them. Write down your yearly goals, give them a loose timeline, and then plan out what you can do to get there.
  4. Plan the next holiday. Don’t wait until the end of the year to take another break. Don’t even wait until you feel you “deserve” it. Just taking a long weekend on the coast can get you so sunburnt and waterlogged that you’ll be longing for a little bit of respite back in an air-conditioned office. Well, maybe.
  5. Change your attitude. It’s a new year, a new month and a new day. Go to work with a positive attitude and do what you can to sustain it through the day. That’s easier said than done, but it’s always worth remembering that one of the quickest things you can change about yourself is your outlook on the current day.

This article first appeared on Women’s Agenda.

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