From rest and relaxation, you’re suddenly catapulted back to reality with all systems go.
Making the transition from holiday mode back into real life is all about mentally preparing yourself for the shift. The last thing you want to do on the final days of your holiday is think about work and school, but it can help with the transition. Take a few moments to visualise going back to work, getting the children into school and moving through the few first weeks of January.
Do a health check. If you’ve overindulged over the past few weeks, you may be feeling sluggish. Consider a pre-work and school detox for a few days. Eat vegetables, fruit, protein, salads and drink plenty of water. This can help to ease your system back to reality.
Tips for getting back into routine
Back to work
Use the day before to prepare. Get everything together that you’ll need to take with you in the morning. Check and iron your work clothing. Give yourself a half an hour or so to think about the coming year and what you would like to achieve workwise. Pack a healthy lunch for yourself. Don’t go to bed too late.
First day back
- Get in early. Try to get to work an hour before your scheduled start, if this is possible. You’ll beat the traffic and you’ll also get in before most of your colleagues.
- Use the extra time to clean off your desk. If you left in rush last year, you may still have outstanding paperwork that needs to be filed. In short – get organised.
- Take a few moments to review your current system. Are you staying on top of your admin? How long is your turnaround on projects? Is there a more effective way of doing something?
- Catch up with colleagues as they arrive.
- Review your current workload. Find a task or project to focus on. Having too many tasks can be overwhelming. Give yourself a few days to focus on something and get ahead in that area.
- Pace yourself. You don’t have to do it all on day one but you can get a good mental picture of the next few weeks.
- Check your email. This can be a shock if it has piled up during your absence! If you are able to spend an hour or so, get it sorted out now. Flag important mails, delete junk mail, categorise anything that relates to a current project, create folders and move old emails.
- Your body isn’t used to sitting in a stationary position so don’t forget to take regular breaks to stretch your muscles and move around.
- Have your teatime and lunch away from your desk to give yourself a mental and physical break.
- The first day can be the hardest, so once that’s behind you the routine will become easier.
Back to school
You are likely to already be back at work when the children start school. Term 1 usually starts on a Wednesday, so making the transition from ‘holiday mode’ to ‘school mode’ can be done the weekend before, giving everyone two days to get back on track. By getting organised, you actually teach your child a valuable life lesson. It’s also far less stressful for everyone. If you have primary and pre-school aged children, and you are able to, ask your boss whether you can come in an hour or two later on the first today, to give you time to get everyone settled
- Purchase all stationery, mark everything and pack your child’s bag.
- Some schools ask parents to get books wrapped and marked before the first day. This isn’t a bad idea. Go ahead if you can – it saves a huge amount of time on the first afternoon of school, giving you extra time to cover textbooks only.
- Check uniforms. Get your child to put on his or her uniform so you can check sizes, socks and shoes. If blazers were not sent to dry cleaning at the end of last year then do it now. If you need to buy anything new, head to the shops and get that sorted out.
- Get the kids into a good sleep routine. If they have been going to bed at 10pm, if can be very difficult to make the transition to 8pm in one night. Start on Sunday night.
- Establish a good ‘pre sleep’ wind down. Switch off the TV, cell phones, tablets and other devices and let your child spend 30 minutes playing quietly in his or her room or reading a book.
- Don’t let your child sleep in too late in the morning, so he or she can be ready for bed at the earlier time.
- Review the arrangements for the first morning. You may have received a newsletter in your child’s report, or a notice on the school’s communicator or website. Check this so that you know where your child needs to go.
- Get uniforms ready and polish shoes.
- Pack bags. If your child is in primary school, you will likely have a mountain of stationery to cart to school. Pack everything into a sturdy box that is easy for you to handle.
- Let your child have a small snack and something to drink before bed.
- A story and a cuddle can help settle nerves if your primary or pre-school child is apprehensive about school.
First school morning
- Get everyone up at least 30 minutes before the usual time. This provides a better head start. Photographs can be taken, and should a crisis arise, there will be time to sort it out.
- Everyone should have a good breakfast.
- Get lunches ready and packed in the bags.
- Keep your emotions in check. If may be your child’s first day at school, but don’t make it too emotionally charged for him or her. Once your child is safe with his or her teacher, say good-bye and go.
- The first few days are the toughest. Once the kids have been back for a few days and you have a weekend together, the first Monday is far easier as routine slips into place.