Tips to ease into work year
It's the last weekend of January which means for so many of us that any holiday feeling will have well and truly disappeared down a sink hole of office furniture, IT problems and hard- wearing carpet.
If your Christmas lights didn't catch on fire and you haven't fallen out with one side of the family as the result of a seasonal stress-related rift, then you needn't panic too much - but easing back into office life can be a shock to the system.
Unfortunately, holiday relaxation seems to disappear rather quickly after clocking back in at the office.
I start back at work on Monday morning with every plan to be refreshed and energetic but I know through observation and experience that the day you most need a holiday is the day you return to the office.
However, there must be ways to prepare, inspire and ease the passage back to the grindstone.
Here are my top five tips.
1. Awful drinks
If you happen to be a regular visitor to your office kitchen to make your own hot drinks, start the transition to something a bit more downmarket than coffee with freshly ground beans. Before starting back to work, buy instant powder and cheap tea bags that appear to be infused with brown dye rather than the taste of tea. Grow accustomed once again to tea bags that encourage their leaves to emancipate themselves the second they hit boiling water.
2. Search the internet
Ahead of your return, aimlessly trawl the internet. No matter how much you love your job, the internet wasn't called a web for no reason. It will catch you unawares, particularly if you are supposed to be using it to research something important. It has the power to mesmerise even the least dreamy among us. One minute you're looking up production and expenditure-based gross domestic product statistics, the next you're in a vortex of meat hats. Be aware this can happen, accept it, build time into your day.
3. Injure yourself
Wrench your shoulder, specifically the one attached to the hand you use to control the computer mouse. This should secure a feeling of muscular stress which will in turn feed emotional stress and therefore a trip to either an osteopath, physiotherapist or counsellor. Consider getting ahead of the game and doing it quickly instead of leaving it to the slow burn buildup. Mind you, if you do this, it's likely you need more than a counsellor.
4. Have regrets
So you had a zillion plans over the summer holidays. You were going to do the garden, write your favourite recipes neatly into a book and sort out the spare room. Before returning to your 9-to-5 job, accept that the best laid plans will go awry. Take a leaf out of Desiderata: "Whatever your labours and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
"With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world."
5. It's not all that bad.
The first half of the year is punctuated with public holidays. I suggest you look up a public holiday calendar for 2014 and plan one or two breaks immediately. The sad thing is that the province of Canterbury has its anniversary day towards the end of the year whereas other regions have their day in their first six months. Plan carefully enough and you could move to each of these regions just in time for their anniversary holiday. Get a job in Nelson, Taranaki, Otago and Southland (in that order) over the next few months and you've saved yourself almost a week in holidays.
Now get into it.