After a week of celebrations, pyjamas days, stuffing your face with food and spending quality time with family and friends, the thought of returning to work once the Christmas holidays come to an end can be a stressful and anxiety-inducing prospect, even for those who love their jobs. In this article, we’ll be giving you some of our best tips on how to manage your mental health when it comes time to return to work after Christmas.
Get Back Into Your Routine Early
There’s nothing worse than going from long lie-ins every morning over the Christmas period to suddenly going back to your usual 6am start on your first day back at work. That’s why we would recommend slowly getting yourself back into your routine by waking up slightly earlier 1-2 days before your turn to work and going to bed at a sensible time so your body is well rested ready for when you go back.
Take a Day to Get Caught Up and Organised
When you return to work at the start of January it can seem pretty hectic. You’ll likely have a full email inbox and lots of tasks to be getting on with. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when there is so much to do, which is why it’s always good to take a step back and make a list of your tasks in order of priority. This way you know exactly what you need to do and have a clear sense of direction, helping you to stay better focused and on task for the days ahead.
Take a day to go through your emails and try to have a team catch up to make sure everyone knows what they should be getting on with and if anyone needs any help going forward. You may even need to take a few minutes to declutter your desk as a clean and tidy work environment boosts productivity and morale.
What we eat doesn’t only affect our physical health but our mental health too. Maintaining a well balanced diet will make you feel much better in yourself and help to keep your energy levels up throughout the day.
Meditate and Breathe
Deep breathing is a great way to calm the body when we start to feel tense. This is because deep breathing boosts the supply of oxygen to the brain, stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system that controls bodily functions during moments of stress. If you find yourself feeling stressed before or during work, take a few minutes to do some meditation and deep breathing exercises.
Try to Get to the Root of Your Anxiety
Exploring what it is that may be causing these feelings of stress or anxiety can help you to break it down and put some coping strategies in place. For example, if you’re worried about the busy commute on the way to work it may be worth leaving home 10-20 minutes sooner so you aren’t worried about being late and roads are less busy.
Similarly, if you’re still nervous about returning to the workplace whilst the Omicron variant is spreading so rapidly, it may be worth speaking to your manager about whether or not it is possible to work from home.
However, if you really cannot overcome your feelings of anxiety, it’s worth seeking professional help with a therapist to help you confront your feelings and create skills and strategies to help you cope on a day-to-day basis.
Be Kind to Yourself
Remember, many people will be feeling anxious about entering the new year and some may even dread returning to work, so don’t be too hard on yourself. With concerns surrounding coronavirus still strong, this is an incredibly difficult time for many right now and it’s normal to feel anxious as we enter yet another year still in the coronavirus pandemic.
Being kind to yourself and understanding that it’s ok to feel the way you do at the moment can relieve some of the pressure you have built up and learning to treat yourself as you would a friend helps you to develop self-compassion, something which makes us less likely to be depressed, anxious, insecure and stressed. Have regular self check-ins to ask yourself how you’re feeling and whether you can do anything to improve your current mental health.