I remember the joy of starting a new school year and opening up the crisp, white pages of an exercise book, knowing that by the end of the year I will have filled-in the fine, blue lines and grids; studiously perfecting my penmanship; drawing bad scientific graphs (and accompanying illustrations), and attempting (and failing) to solve complicated mathematic equations.
Almost back at work, I have that same feeling. I want to start anew and find excitement in the idea of ‘fresh starts,’ filling pages, and completion.
But, as someone who has never embraced New Year’s resolutions, but rather, five-year plans, the start of a new year is beginning to feel overwhelming. The question is, will I ever get on top of what is fast becoming a growing list of things to do, half of which, is now on paper, while the remainder exists as an ever-expanding amalgamation of thoughts and ideas tucked away in the back of my mind?
Also a contributor to my aforementioned question — having acquired a new appreciation for the true joy and meaning of ‘free’ time — I can only assume that the chaos of a working week will overshadow any enjoyment of my new-found indulgence in nature. My plants will begin to wither through irregular (or non-existent) hydration, and the vases may become barren, as I discontinue a commitment to replacing soon-to-be withering Hydrangeas, magenta Carnations and apricot Gerberas — once, brimming in their luscious finery, retire to the earth in their abandoned, degrading and rotting state.
The cycle of life of my Viridiplantae world aside, if like me you’re thinking of the year (or years) ahead, and putting some goals into action, Hannah Airey, Director of Workplace Wellbeing believes that setting goals is great, as long as they are achieve-able and there aren’t too many of them.
For those who have made New Year’s resolutions, she suggests a way of making them more effective.
“I would encourage people to call them ‘intentions’ instead and that way you can make new ones throughout the year, whenever you feel like you’re a little stuck and it’s time for some inspiration.”
Feeling stressed about returning to work after a holiday can also lead people to feeling unmotivated, especially if they have used their time for re-evaluation. “Some of my clients find that a break can give them perspective on their lives, and it becomes clearer that some things need to change. On top of trying to catch up on the work that has piled up since they’ve been gone, the idea of making changes, even small ones, can feel hard”
Importantly, Hannah emphasizes that making our way through these difficult moments is down to how we manage and perceive them: “Our challenges present our greatest opportunity for change, [so] thinking positively and embracing these times is the key,” she says.
Hannah’s Top 5 Tips for making that transition back into the working week:
- Connect with friends and family, catch up and share your holiday stories over a shared meal.
- Organise something fun to do with your work colleagues. It doesn’t have to cost much, it could be something as simple as draw names out of a hat and carry out a random act of kindness, anonymously. Team building activities or a social get together are good options also.
- Plan a mini break, even if it’s just one night away. It will give you something to look forward to and will rejuvenate you.
- Dare I say it, exercise. Move your mood, but find something that you like to do, not what someone else thinks you would/should like to do. Make it achievable and enjoyable. Get ready to release your feel-good hormones, endorphins and serotonin into your bloodstream!
- Plan and organise your working day into bite size chunks. Feeling overwhelmed will cause worry. This is an opportune time to be present, take notice of how you are feeling and doing only what you can. Mindfulness is not a concept, it’s a simple and natural state that can be part of our everyday life.
As for me, starting some fresh pages of a new notebook, and a pot plant for my desk, will do just fine.
Garance Doré notebook $19.90 from Iko Iko/ Finders Keepers Pumps here with similar styles here and here / custom-made black pearl and silver ring (similar here)/ silver trio of rings (Etsy)/ vintage watch.
Photography © Sly On The Wall