10 ways to cope with going back to work

How to cope with going back to work after Christmas

It’s the last day of the Christmas break for most folk in England today and, as I look around Facebook, I see many of my colleagues moaning about returning to work tomorrow. So, to lighten the mood and make us all a bit more optimistic about heading back to work, here are some tips on how to cope with going back to work after Christmas.

Bring your personal touch into your working life

We get stressed out by situations where we are ‘here’ but want to be ‘there’. This means that if we’re stressed out by work we would much rather be somewhere, often anywhere, else- preferably doing something we enjoy in our personal lives.

Whether you’re a baker, writer, walker, painter or any other hobbyist, finding a space to bring a personal touch to showcase your hobbies and skills at work can be a great way of finding a little brightness in the darker days.

 Get fit and look after your body

I know, I know, you’ve heard this a million times already and you don’t need another reminder from me that a healthy body = a healthy mind. But, seriously, there is so much evidence out there that shows our fitness is directly linked to our mood that you really should try it for yourself.

Try to move away from overly-negative conversations and gossip

Given the toxic environments that many of us find ourselves working in, it can be nigh on impossible to escape negative conversations from cynical and jaded colleagues who are on the verge of burnout. However, trying to move away from these conversations or re-frame moaning into positive solutions can help make your days a little easier. This step is especially important if you’re coping well with your work but feel you must join in with moaning because others are.

If you can afford it, ask for reduced hours

Not everyone can afford to ask for part-time hours and many people I speak to are struggling to make ends meet on full-time wages, especially those of you who are single parents. But, if part-time work is financially viable, it can be a way of making your days at work easier. A word of warning though: make sure you get a truly reduced caseload because there are too many part-time workers out there who still have full-time caseloads.

Make more of an effort to make friends with your colleagues

With high turnover, rampant long-term sickness and an increasing reliance on agency staff, many Social Work teams struggle to maintain a positive and settled atmosphere. However, it’s important to remember that we are all in the same boat and we need to make more of an effort to get along with others. Having friends in the workplace can sometimes be all we need to get through the most difficult of days.

Remember that a problem shared is a problem halved.

Get a better work/life balance by forcing yourself to make plans after work

All of us have those days when we just want to come home and go straight to bed, too tired to even want to eat let alone make plans with friends. But we can all too easily let these days become the norm and, after one too many cancelled plans, our friends can stop bothering to make the effort.

No matter how bad your day has been, sticking to plans with friends and family can help lighten the mood. Your work takes enough out of you already, don’t let it steal all your sparkle by robbing you of your friendships too.

Try and find humour and happiness wherever you can in work

Check out this article to see why having a sense of humour is so important in Social Work!

 Set career goals for yourself

It’s a strange irony of Social Work that we can be so good at assessing other people’s lives and planning interventions, yet can be so poor at setting goals for ourselves.

Taking the time to properly plan your career by asking the question ‘Where do I want to be in ten years’ time?’ can help you see the bigger picture by realising that all the struggle will be worth it when you get to the light at the end of the tunnel.

Try to see the bigger picture and remember how many bad days you’ve survived

Look, I’m not going to lie to you my friends… I know tomorrow is going to suck. Hell, I even know that there are many of you out there who feel like every day at work sucks. But if you’re sat here reading this, and you have a job to go to tomorrow, you must be pretty damn amazing to have made it this far!

Give yourself a pat on the back and remind yourself how far you’ve come.

 If none of the above work, ask yourself ‘Do I really need the job?’

Life is short my friends. Too short to spend doing a job you hate.

If things are so bad for you that work is making you mentally or physically ill, and there is no remedy on the horizon, then it’s time to move on in your life.

Time flies, whether you’re wasting it or not, so don’t let your years slip away spending your days doing something that makes you unhappy.

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