The holidays are over and many of us will have to return from a state of bliss back into our offices and workspaces.
As I’m writing this down, I can feel a wave of overwhelming tasks and responsibilities about to wash over me upon my return. Whether you were forced to take a holiday vacation (because no one else is working) or you yourself have sworn off your work inbox for the season, I’m sure you can relate to this overwhelming time of emerging from the holidays.
As part of my mental and emotional preparation, I listed three action plans that can help get us motivated as we return to our normal schedule.
Gradually ease into work
Reserve your first day in the office for back-logs. Before my very first day back, I like to take a peek at my inbox, scanning for emails from clients, VIPs, or my boss. If it will take only 5 minutes, I draft a reply. No need to hit send, but already having a reply drafted will significantly reduce stress for the next day. You can even ‘delay delivery’ of your drafted emails so that they automatically send the next day, allowing you to check them off your to do list completely.
It would also help to gather all things you need to get back to right away in a sheet of paper or any notes app. Having them all in one place and in a list will help to quell anxiety. And crossing off the accomplished items will give a boost of inspiration and motivation to keep at it.
Once you arrive to the office, you might need a few minutes to adjust and get back to the rhythm of work. While adjusting, look at your list to get a feel for which tasks to prioritize. You can focus more with a shortened list, so sort your tasks in order of importance and urgency. If necessary, seek your boss’ help to get you back on track.
Here are some of my other tips:
- Start with zero inbox. Snooze those emails that can wait for tomorrow and start responding to the more pressing concerns. Seeing all those unread messages can add to the anxiety so allocate your time to those that are really important first.
- Clear your desk of any clutter from last year. A new year should bring you new and fresh perspectives, not clutter from the past.
- Try not to hop into high-stress activities, like meetings, right away (unless you absolutely need to). For me, pushing meetings and presentations a day or two after I get back gives me space and allows me to get back on my feet more smoothly and with as minimal pressure as possible.
- Re-orient yourself with your career goals. It’s helpful to the start the year off with a fresh acknowledgment of your big why. Why are you working for this company? What do you want to achieve by end of this year? How much do you need to close to reach your quota?
Meet with friends during breaks
Schedule a lunch or coffee with a close friend. This is a particularly helpful way for me to remember that going back to work doesn’t mean not being able to spend time with people. After spending the holidays with your family and friends, you might feel that bit of disconnectedness upon going to work. To help with the post-holiday blues, it helps me to spend time with a friend even for just a short coffee break. Conversations usually include the following:
- Funny stories about both of your holidays.
- Those New Year’s resolutions you will surely get to this year. No, really, this year is the year you’ll get those abs or get that promotion.
- Catch up on how your families have been or how your hometowns have changed.
- Reminisce on the previous years that went by so quickly.
One of my favorite things to do is bring food from my hometown or from where I went to vacation to share with my colleagues and friends. Exchanging thoughts about the holidays and the new year, with the right people, can be more insightful and therapeutic than you would expect.
Host a holiday hangover party
You’re most certainly not the only one having the holiday hangover. A great way to catch up with your friends or colleagues is to host a holiday hangover party with a few games and some good food.
The first quarter of the year is always a fantastic time to host events, conferences and parties, as everyone wants to start over a new chapter of their lives, learn something new, meet new people, and improve on some of their skills.
If you need help planning a holiday hangover party, Wekudo hosts the ultimate holiday hangover party.
Hopefully these will help you hit the ground running once you return to work. Though these tips are not a one-size-fits-all strategy for everyone, we hope you can glean some perspective as you start another year becoming an even better version of yourself.
Krissa Magdaluyo aspires to be a novelist and a social entrepreneur, occasionally dabbling in standup comedy. She is still trying to figure out how to be all that. In the meantime, she is a Project Manager by profession and is looking for ways to contribute to the growing startup ecosystem in the Philippines.