Going back to work after some time off can be quite the transition. Whether you are returning to work from a long leave of absence, such as a maternity leave like I have recently, or from a short term disability. You could also be returning to work from a shorter leave like a vacation or holiday. With either length of time, it can be difficult getting back into the swing of things at work. Here are some healthy ways to ease that transition back to work:
- Keep a schedule on your time off. This is crucial. We always stress to kids to have structure and stay on a schedule, but adults need it just as much. While you are off, as much as possible maintain a schedule similar to when you were working. This can be difficult, but each day try to have a similar schedule with sleep, eating, exercise and activity. This is very important if you are off work on short term disability because of mental health issues. Often people will feel more depressed and anxious if they are not working and don’t have a schedule while they are out of work. It’s okay once in awhile to have days when you don’t have much of a schedule or structure to your day. However, keep the majority of your days structured. This will help you greatly when you return to work, plus it is definitely good for your health.
- Make sure to set time for socializing while you are off work and when you return to work. It’s important to keep in touch with friends, family and co-workers as much as you can. Too much time alone can make it very difficult to return to working with others. Social isolation can also lead to an increase in depression and anxiety symptoms and delay your return to work or make it even more difficult to do. Try to keep your social outlets when you return to work, as well, to keep a good balance in your life.
- Stay active and don’t forget to have fun. Getting out of the house while you are off and when you are working is so important for your physical and mental health. Also, while you are off, try to get involved in activities or events that you always wanted to do but didn’t have time for because of your work schedule. When you return to work, keep these activities and hobbies going on as much as you can. This will help you maintain a healthy life and work balance.
And remember that transitioning back to work takes time and effort. It may take more time to transition back to work if you have been out longer, so don’t feel bad if you’re not fully adjusted after a week or so. The therapists at Village Counseling Center can help you work through different transitions in your life. If you are struggling with the transition of returning to work and would like to talk to someone, please reach out to connect with a therapist here that can help support you along the way.