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The festivities of Christmas and New Year’s Eve have come and gone in a flurry of jingle bells, Love Actually, family feuds, fireworks and lots of booze! You hiss a sharp four-letter bomb as the sound of your alarm clock pierces through the darkness of the early morning - rudely yanking you by the collar straight out of cosy holiday land, and aggressively chucking you against the brick wall of reality.

As you set one foot on the ice-cold floor, you shiver and despair, hoping this is all just a bad dream – one that you’ll be gently roused from with a cup of steaming hot coco, a mince pie or two and possibly some aspirin. Sadly, the nightmare is very much your life now, and only just beginning…

Enter our Blue Monday Competition!

There’s no doubt that back-to-work blues strike with a vengeance after we’ve overindulged in the pleasures of sin over the holiday season. In this blog, we show you how to survive your first week back at the office, without drowning in a pool of tears at your desk!

1. Work according to your natural rhythms

Getting back into the swing of work after some time away can be a wobbly transition process, and every-day molehills may very well seem like mountains. For this reason, you should aim to coordinate challenging tasks with the times you are likely to be at your best. For example, if you’re a morning person, don’t start by going through your emails. Instead, tackle that big project and leave the emails for when you’re in a slump. If you have a regular meeting that’s always a bit flat, hold it at a different time of day. If your boss seems to be on their best form in the afternoon, approach them with your ideas then.

2. Catch up with your work BFF over lunch

Nothing breaks up a seemingly never-ending first day back at work like popping out for lunch with your work bestie! Chances are you’re both probably broke, so pick somewhere cheap and cheerful, or take your packed lunches to a coffee shop (cheeky we know) and swap Christmas horror stories. If you don’t have a work BFF, you’ve just found your next New Year’s Resolution – get a work BFF!

3. Rethink meetings

The start of the New Year is typically a time of renewed expectations - which may be of epic proportions and a wee bit distant from reality. These pie-in-the-sky ideas often result in lengthy meetings under the false pretence of accomplishing something, but unfortunately can end up being a waste of precious time! Before you agree to a meeting, ask what the purpose is and what the organiser needs from you. Meetings should be for decision-making and discussion rather than sharing of historical information, so if the catch-up follows an organised agenda and everyone prepares properly, you should be able to limit meetings to 15 minutes. Stay alert and focused on the task at hand, and avoid having food or drinks which turn meetings into social occasions which are more likely to drag on and keep you away from the pile of work you have yet to get through.

4. Hold on tight to your office comforts, and avoid emotional triggers

While your office desk is certainly far removed from the comfort of your warm bed, keeping your small comforts – i.e. instant hot chocolate, a humorous desk-top calendar or a sinfully delicious snack - on hand will help you ease your way back into the hustle and bustle of your working life.

If re-adjusting to life at the office is leaving you a tad bit anxious, try to minimise your exposure to emotionally-triggering situations – don’t worry, that quest for closure regarding an embarrassingly intoxicated and heartfelt confession underneath the mistletoe at last year’s Christmas do can wait! More importantly, avoid making any calls or writing any emails if you’re feeling upset for any reason at all. An emotional email or call will only leave you with more damage control activities further down the line when you have to apologise or rebuild a broken relationship.

If you feel on edge for any reason, take a break from the work environment, do something you enjoy for an hour, and wait until you are totally calm before acting. If you can, leave things overnight. If you have to respond to an email or call right there and then, keep things factual. Report only on what you’ve seen and own your emotions.

5. Plan to do something fun over the first weekend of the year

Although work can seem like hell on earth after a period of blissfully doing sweet nothing, having something to look forward to will certainly make your first week back at the office easier. Call up one of your mates who you didn’t have a chance to see over the festive season, and plan a Friday night of karaoke or a Saturday spa session.

6. Find your balance and take steps towards redefining your role in the workplace

Although your first week back at the office may be challenging, remember that with time you will soon re-establish your work to life balance. As part of your New Year’s resolutions, why not aim to enrol in a new skill development course, or look for ways to redefine your role within the workplace? Challenging yourself by learning new skills and refreshing your operational activities will work wonders in giving you that sense of fulfilment in your career. Before you know it, you’ll be smashing those targets and charging into the new year of business with renewed focus, drive and passion!

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