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6 steps to ease back in to work

The years of hard work have paid off. Time spent dedicating yourself to get to where you are right now. Times when you went without in the pursuit of reaching your potential. And this year you really need - and deserve - some time out.

However you choose to spend your well-deserved time out -whether embarking on intrepid adventures or relaxing at home -the transition back in to work will no doubt come as something of a shock to the system. A jolt as life switches from the freedom of choosing how you spend your days, to one of early morning alarms, demanding colleagues, and the need for your best brain literally overnight. So, it’s perfectly natural to be feeling a little unsettled as it draws closer. Yet, by applying the same impressive skills and qualities that have served you so well in life -things like planning, organising, and sharing - to your holiday plans, you can ease your way in to this break and bounce back in to the swing of things at the other end feeling invigorated, renewed and ready to take on the remainder of your year. Here’s how:

As odd as it may seem to think about the return to work before you even go, dedicating a little time to this process will really pay off -leaving you free to ease in to your break knowing you can completely switch off, rather than collapsing in to it exhausted and frazzled with worry at what you might come back to. Things that can really help:

1. Pop a note of your holiday dates in your email signature in the weeks leading up to your break to give those you’re in contact with plenty of notice that you won’t be around for a while.

2.Be sure to mention you’ll be away to those you work with on a regular basis during this period, letting them know about key things they need to be aware of during that time. 

3. Remember to pop an out of office signature on your email and record a voicemail message stating when you’re away, and who to contact in your absence - ideally on the morning of your last day. This will give you space to work through any last-minute tasks without the expectation of returning messages or calls. 

4. Be ruthless when considering what needs to be done whilst you’re away. Assess each task, asking yourself whether it’s absolutely critical. If the answer is no, then let it go. This can reduce the number of things needing your attention when you come back.

5. With everything else, delegate as much as you can, and get buy-in to who will own it, what they need to do, how, and by when. 

6.Switch off! If you’re going away, leave your laptop and work phone at home to avoid the temptation of checking; it’s highly unlikely that anything good will ever come from that sneaky peek!

With that out of the way you can go in to the break with nothing to think about but your holiday. As much as you might enjoy your job, now is not the time to think about it. Now is all about you, so whether you’re staying home or heading away, have an amazing time!

The time to return to work is almost here and you’re hopefully feeling the benefits of the time out. The careful attention you gave to covering all bases before you headed off means your transition should be nice and smooth. In the last days before your return, take a little time to quietly reflect on your achievements over the year so far; consider this an internal pep talk. Take a step back and see yourself as your best friend. 

  • What great things do you see in them?
  • What admirable qualities do they have? 
  • What challenges have they overcome?

Your natural modesty may get in the way of giving yourself a pat on the back, so this is a great way of seeing yourself in the same great light that others see you. Allow yourself time to enjoy and absorb the feelings that arise. Be confident and celebrate your strengths, perhaps setting a few mini goals or challenges to focus your mind. This can help to take you back to work feeling ready to hit the ground running; able to take on the next part of the year feeling self-assured, positive and full of optimism.  

So well done you, and here’s to a great part two!