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The Back to Routine Blues

Happy New Year! The first few days of 2018 are underway. How are you doing? Are you back to routine after the holidays? I’m very lucky to have a job that I love and am passionate about, but going back to work after a break is still hard. Especially because my holiday break is long. Our office is closed between Christmas and the New Year holiday, so I haven’t worked since December 22. Wowza! What a fantastic break! But I have to admit, I’m deep in the trenches of back to routine blues today.

I know from experience how to kick this feeling, and today I’ve got a big to do list of wonderful things to help me stay in the content, relaxed mindset such a long break has created. Along with my tasks for today, I’m keeping in mind my top five strategies for getting back into the swing of real life after a break:

Get your workday prep completed earlier rather than later.

Instead of waiting until I’m tired and want to get to bed, or worse in a rush to get out the door the next morning, I gather what I need for a successful day at work as soon as I can the day before. This includes setting up my to do list for the week, packing a lunch, choosing an outfit to wear, and making sure I communicate any out of the ordinary scheduling things to my husband. It helps clear my head for the rest of my time off if I know I’m as ready as possible for the next day.

Make a “Top 3 To Do List” for your first day back.

Make a quick list of three things you can move forward on right away on the morning you’re back in the office. Then do these things as soon as you get to work. It will give the week a productive boost right away, which can be the motivation needed to get back into the swing of routine after a break.

Give yourself a healthy treat.

“Healthy” is the key term for this item. Don’t let the sweet things in your life turn sour, but choose a treat that makes you happy in the short term and the long term. When I was feeling anxious about the work week after Thanksgiving break, I made a cup of orange spice tea and read a novel during a bubble bath. What a relaxing treat!

Be grateful!

Take a few minutes to think about what you’re thankful for. Even though it’s hard to go back to work after a long weekend, I’m very grateful to have a job that I really love at a place I feel passionate about. I’m thankful I have coworkers that are true friends. I’m also very thankful to get back to a routine. I love familiarity, and it feels good to turn back to structure after a weekend away.

Also, make a list of all the great memories you made during your break. This will give you a boost in the moment, and if you keep the list someplace handy, you can look back at it later when you’re feeling worn out. I had eleven days filled with family and friends and lots of memories. Capturing what made each day special in writing filled me with a sense of contentment and peace that I know I’ll want to revisit during busy weeks that lie ahead.

Get enough sleep.

This isn’t as exciting as treating yourself or practicing gratitude, but it’s important. It can be tempting to stay up late to squeeze out every last bit of the weekend or break, but it doesn’t make the morning very pleasant. Getting to bed on time and having a full night of sleep can make a big difference in setting the tone for the week.

I hope these strategies help you as you establish your routines for the new year. It’s exciting to look forward to what this year has in store. Be gentle to yourself as you jump back in.

Questions: Did you set resolutions or make goals for the year? What are you most looking forward to in 2018?

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