Back To Work

Got that ‘back-to-work’ feeling? I never really thought I’d be writing about the nation going back to work on mass – but for many of you this is exactly what you are doing and facing a huge upheaval in your routine as you head back into the office. Some of you might be looking forward to getting back in your work environment, others may be feeling apprehensive and a bit sad to see the work-from-home routine dissipate. Everyone’s situation is unique with work and indeed the ‘after shock’ from the past year. However, as you approach returning to work, here are some guidelines that may help you and give you the some support during the transition.

Stay Connected
Reconnected with your place of work. It might not be necessary to talk about work, but checking in with your line-manager, colleagues or teams will help you feel connected and prepare you mentally. If you have been on furlough your colleagues may not know how you have been affected by the past year. You don’t have to divulge too much personal information but connecting will help with the transition.

Your normal commute and daily routine may have been disrupted greatly with rising and bed times being becoming disrupted. If you have been getting up later than you would when you work at the office, start to rise earlier and move your bed time earlier as well so it’s not such a shock to the system. Foods containing the amino-acid tryptophan have been found to improve sleep as it is used by the body to make the sleep hormone melatonin so make sure you have these in your diet. Tryptophan can be found in  cherries, bananas, eggs, fish, peanuts, pumpkin and sesame seeds, milk, turkey.

Restructure Exercise Times
You might now be accustomed to running in the middle of the day or using your commute time to exercise. This extra time you used to exercise was valuable and will be missed, however now is the time to  reassess you routine and plan where you can fit it in when you go back to work. Will you have to wake up earlier to fit a jog in before you leave for work? Or will you need ask for help at home with cooking so you can exercise before dinner? Think about how you will fit in this exercise and start to implement the changes before you start back to work. Exercising will be an important part of your mental wellbeing so be sure to prioritise this.

Meal Plan
More time at home may have meant that you have had more time to cook and your eating habits may have changed over the past year – for better or worse! Use this shift in going back to work to get back on track with your diet. The first week you return, plan your meals:

  • Make a dinners the can be used for lunch the next day
  • Prepare breakfast the night before to take the pressure off the morning
  • Make something on Sunday that can be used for a dinner in the week
  • Take healthy snacks to work so you don’t reach for the high sugar treats in the afternoon

Support Your Energy
No doubt the first week of returning to the grind will be difficult, and so you will need to support your energy needs.  It will come as no surprise that the best foods to eat are whole and unprocessed as they are sources of the vital nutrients our bodies need for optimum health. Increase your vegetable consumption so you pack in all those energising nutrients and aim for 5 portions of vegetables a day – one portion is 80g.  As well as providing those essential vitamins and minerals, the right nutrition supports the hormones and neurotransmitters that help to regulate mood. Sometime the simplest things are the most effective!