Pack up your decorations, take out your tree, and turn that dreaded alarm back on because another year is over and thus so is the holiday.

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Even as I write this I am groaning under the weight of being back at work (and the extra pounds piled on over Christmas). Now don’t get me wrong, I love my job, but that doesn’t make the renewed screaming of the early morning alarm any easier.

We get into such a routine of laziness over the festive period that work becomes a shock to the system. We eat and drink to excess, we party all night and we wake up well after the sun has risen. We get used to lazing around and napping after lunch. These things are (unfortunately) not acceptable at work. And, although the inevitable tidying happens, that’s the most effort we put in to anything for almost two weeks.

So going back to work, having to be productive, waking up at what feels like the crack of dawn and engaging our brains is hard. How do we make it easier? Although not scientifically proven, here’s my mantra for getting back to work this week.

  1. Caffeine, and lots of it.
  2. Don’t start the diet yet. Seriously, give yourself something to look forward to and a boost of energy for your first few days back at work. Rome wasn’t built in a day and nor was a centurion’s body, so relax, a couple more days won’t hurt.*
    *I’m not saying sit and stuff your face with chocolate but a few squares here and there won’t harm you.
  3. Avoid the gym. Hang up those running trainers, put away the spandex and just let your body adjust first to waking up early and doing a full day of work. In my experience it is easier to exercise once you actually have an ounce of energy, and it’s easier to work when you haven’t depleted that energy first thing in the morning. So similarly to point two, just relax, the gym can wait and will likely be slightly emptier in a few days anyway.
  4. Get an early night, even if it’s by force. At 10pm last night I was begging my partner to just go to bed. We were both wide awake, having woken up at around 10:30am that morning, but, as I suspected, going to bed later was just a terrible idea. Get into bed, read a book or do whatever it takes to make you a little bit sleepy and then just turn the lights out and try. It’ll help you get back into the swing and you’ll feel better for it the next morning. I promise.
  5. Go easy on the alarm. Today, rather than setting my alarm for my slow and steady 7:25am, I set it for 7:40am. A faster pace to get ready but definitely do-able, and the extra 15 minutes sleep makes a big difference.
  6. Go in with a positive attitude. The more you tell yourself the day is going to be long and hard, the longer and harder it will be. Go in and tell yourself you’re glad to be doing something worthwhile and productive again and remind yourself that without a job there’s no money and well, Christmas has meant we have no money as it is, so best to have work, right?
  7. Book time off. The hardest thing sometimes is just knowing that the holidays are over and the next bank holiday isn’t until the end of March. The fix? Think of something you really want to do or somewhere you’d love to visit, decide on the time (maybe not in the next week though, you do have to work a little) and book it. It gives you something to look forward to and is also a great way to actually start ticking off the New Years’ resolution bucket list.