Are you back at work?

Today is the first day back at work for many of us.

I’ll not lie when I say it was tough getting started this morning. For starters I couldn’t get out of bed. Then when I managed to get up and find my laptop I forgot most of my passwords. Then I had to relearn to type as well as how to find information, process it and then act on it.

I’ve had two weeks off which was much needed and whist I didn’t go anywhere or do anything, it was still over all too quickly.

It was weird – decidedly quiet and low key. However, on the upside no family arguments and I still managed to watch my fair share of mindless television and some good films and all while grazing on cheese and chocolate. I also squeezed in a lot of dog walking, chatting on Zoom and napping.

The first day back after a holiday is usually a bit tough but this year it felt even harder than usual. Maybe it’s not going to an office, maybe it was the exhausting emotional pantomime of ‘oh yes you can, oh no you can’t’ from the powers that be resulting in last minute changes of Christmas plans. Maybe we all got chills eating Christmas dinner with the windows open.

The emotional pantomime continued all Christmas break. The positive stories of another approved vaccine were countered by doom and gloom of the new variant of corona virus being more transmissible, overwhelmed hospitals and ‘oh yes you are, oh no you’re not’ as some schools go back and others do not and others don’t know.

We’ve been through a lot. And yes we’re learned a lot too and there are many positives that we’ll be able to take away from our experience of living through a pandemic. But even thinking about the events of the past few weeks its no wonder if you’re feeling exhausted, emotional and like you’ve run out of steam.

Then there’s the pressure of a New Year.

There’s been an understandable narrative of good riddance to 2020. There’s the promise that 2021 brings new hope. I’m not denying that, but our lives are not going to change significantly any day soon. The changes will be gradual as the vaccine is rolled out in the coming months. I don’t want to put a downer on 2021, but to manage your expectations I want to flag that it might be 2022 that is the year that heralds this ‘new normal’ that’s been constantly talked about.

So if, on day one back at work, any of the above chimes with you, then here’s my advice.

  • Give yourself a break. You’ve been through a lot and so has everyone you’re working with so just take it a bit easy. Be kind to yourself.
  • Prioritise the work that is essential. What absolutely has to be done today? Just do that.
  • Plan out your activity for the next few days and weeks (taking into account the above principles).
  • Finish work on time – every day.
  • Connect with others for help and support. Consider joining the Lucidity Network. 
  • And for goodness sake don’t start making any new year resolutions that deny yourself the things you love and that you might need to get through the next few months.

All other advice is welcome in the comments below.

*Note This blog was written prior to the 2021 lockdown announcement.