How to Survive the First Week Back at Work

The holidays are finished.

The office party is a distant memory (we hope, after our karaoke debut), it’s -13 with a wind chill factor of -25 outside, and we’re all back to work.

The honeymoon is well and truly over.

And even if our families were slowly sending us all stir crazy, everyone could do with a little friendly encouragement on how to survive our first week back.

So turn off your alarm clock instead of launching it off the balcony, take a deep breath, and follow these tips to get through your first full working week of 2016.


Get into a Work Routine as Quickly as Possible.
Staying up until the early hours, waking up at noon, and adopting a position of inertia over the holidays means that our internal clocks are probably a little off at the moment. It’s not going to be easy, but the quicker you can get yourself back to your usual routine, the better you’re going to feel. Your new favourite saying of the year should be ‘Booktime and Bed’, not Netflix and… oh, you know.

Don’t Snap at Work Colleagues.
Yes, Brenda from accounts got engaged over the break. No, you do not want to see the ring again, nor do you wish to view all 50 Instagram pictures of the proposal. But be nice. Tell anyone who wants to know how you spent your vacation. Ask your boss if Christmas with the new in-laws was as bad as he feared. You’re not alone in your gloom, and making an effort to cheer someone else up will make both of you feel better.

Tidy Up Your Work Station.
You can be forgiven for dashing out of the office on Christmas Eve and leaving your chair spinning without a thought for the cleanliness of your desk. But don’t leave the Santa hat, tinsel, or sticky notes on your computer screen for a moment longer. Purge anything you don’t need from your desk, give it a clean, and leave Christmas behind.

Don’t Drink.
Popping by the bar after work to reward yourself may seem like a good idea. But just remember that while you had your Out-of-Office on last week, your liver was working overtime this Christmas. We’re not advocating a dry January, but old habits die hard – so start on the right foot by saying no to a drink until the weekend at the earliest.

Cook More.
Nibbling on chips, dip and endless supplies of chocolate is not without its allure, but by now you’re probably starting to crave a vegetable or twelve. So give yourself some well-earned vitamins by home cooking some healthy meals this week and trying out a couple of new recipes. Anytime you feel yourself gravitating towards takeout options, just remind yourself how much you spent on gifts last month…

Don’t Do Anything Drastic.
It may seem like the time has come when you can’t put off launching into your New Year’s resolutions any longer. But may we suggest that you put it off for just one more week? The first week back at work is a challenge already, so deciding that Monday is the day you cut sugar out of your diet completely or start your training for an Iron Man might not be the wisest judgement.

Don’t Book a Holiday (Yet)
It’s your first day back, so naturally you’ve already made plans to run away to the Caribbean to become a scuba diving instructor, or relocate to Australia to work with kangaroos in some capacity (OK, so we haven’t got it all figured out). But just hit the pause button on the career change before you make big plans you could regret. And don’t use up all your holiday allowance because you had post-Christmas blues and then remember you need it for the three weddings you’re a bridesmaid at this year.

Plan a Treat.
Nothing too lavish or taxing – a financially crippling evening out or a rock climbing session is unlikely to serve as a reward for making it through your first week back. But just a little something to mark the successful completion of week one of 2016, like a low-key dinner party with friends or a trip to the movies, can help you push through mornings when you want to throw your alarm clock out of the window.

Schedule a Sleep-in.
We understand that New-Year-new-you can mean that you’re busy making plans, but try to factor in a lazy morning at the very least this weekend. You may want to blow away the cobwebs and get out there after a week of sitting indoors stuffing your face, but if you do too much you’ll be exhausted when next week rolls around. And so the cycle begins…

Go Easy.
45 minutes and one very painful phone call with the IT department later, you’re finally logged in after forgetting all of your passwords. Factor in clearing out the 250 emails in your inbox and that’s probably Monday morning taken care of. We’re all in the same boat and no one is going to be terribly productive at first, so unless you have deadlines coming out of your ears, give yourself a chance to get back in the groove.