Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Back to Reality?

So, this week saw one of those unsettling life events for me, the return to work after more than a little time off. 

Two years as a fashion student have come to an end (for now) and the public servant is back in the office. 

Well actually, it should have happened a few months ago but life came up with one of those blips that turned me from student to patient before I was quite finished being a student!

Now I won’t lie, despite my gratitude for having a job to return to during difficult times, my motivation seems to have taken extended leave.  As a result I’m looking for every little coping mechanism to get me through the first week in one piece. 

I’ve seen some great pieces online giving tips and advice on returning to work after maternity leave. I can’t even begin to imagine that struggle of leaving a child at home and adjusting to working life at the same time. That must take some serious self discipline!

Anyway, I’ve decided I’d share my thoughts for those non-parents amongst us who return to work after any other kind of absence. 

1). First and foremost, as a pre-return motivator you can’t beat a work wardrobe update.  Mine was somewhat forced upon me due to a change in clothes sizes, but that’s a whole other story.  I didn’t need much persuasion all the same.  

It’s a tough one this, if you’ve been on unpaid leave for a while, but you know there’s always the old reliable Penneys/Primark. I picked up a few pieces to keep me going for a while; some new collar-less shirts, Breton stripe top, a burgundy blazer, some printed trousers and a few cheap and cheerful neckerchiefs.  

Accessories are great for creating some new outfits on a budget, I just mix them with my existing wardrobe and everyone asks if I’ve been shopping.  
And who doesn’t get a little lift from a new outfit?

2). Leave work at work. One big advantage of working over studying is the lack of homework to bring with you, and more chill out time at home.  Feels a little odd at the beginning but sure we can all find some way to spend those extra few hours.  

I try to start the switching-off process as soon as I walk out the front door – into the car, radio on as-loud-as-you-like, and off I go, whether to home, or the gym or wherever. The traffic is one thing I had forgotten about until I found myself sitting in it on the first day, but not much we can do about that one. Just turn up  the music and ignore all those professionals in their bigger-than-ours cars with steam out their ears. 

3). Once in the front door then, first stop kettle, second a wardrobe change, to clear the mind along with the office clothes. So far it’s been the slouchy (pink) sweatshirt and track bottoms for me, not necessarily stylish but wow is it comfy.  I did match the trainers to the sweatshirt if that makes it any more acceptable..?

4). The absence of the creative focus I had in college seems to be affecting me more than I expected, what with a more business like environment going on around me now.  So something creative to do at lunch or in the evening is a must, even its just browsing some magazines or watching a fashion-related TV show.  Or writing a blog about how I miss being creative. Whatever works!

5). The average office space might not be the most Instagram worthy, and mine is no different.  But there’s nothing to say it can’t be spruced up a bit with some personal touches. My 2014 calendar needs replacing for a start.  A few inspirational quotes, photos or nice stationery can help it feel less clinical and more personalised.   And don’t forget the obligatory coffee cup! My one came from Penneys/Primark as well, and I’ve still got my eye on their rose gold/marble one too. Has anyone found that yet by the way??

So these are just some small tricks that have so far helped me through the first week, no doubt I’ll be looking to amp it up a notch next week.  Of course if these don’t hit the spot, there’s always the chocolate and/or wine treat option if it comes to that. 

Has anyone else had a long time away from work?  What tricks did you use while you settled back into your routine? Please do share!

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