Back to work stress

How do you feel about getting back to work after the holidays. Maybe you are experiencing back to work stress? For some people, the holidays provide a time of reflection, or action, or just the pure enjoyment of being boss over your own time. Others may feel they have hardly even had a chance to take a breath, before being plunged back into the day-to-day mania of working life.

backtoworkAt the most basic level, suffering from the ‘back-to-work’ blues is pretty normal and usually passes after a few days. After all, we all enjoy feeling useful and having a place and a task in society.

However, it may also be that the holiday has allowed you to re-prioritise and perhaps re-connect with hobbies, relationships or inner work.

Maybe you are concerned that you will lose this new found source of balance once you start working again. If so, don’t be afraid to meet with your boss and explain that you love the work that you do, but that you need to make some changes to make it work long term. I have found that most bosses take a positive view of people standing up for their own wellbeing. After all, a healthy employee will do a better job than a miserable one.

Thirdly, there is another group for whom the back-to-work blues are of a more existential nature. I have often spoken with clients who feel they are in the wrong job, or even wrong profession, and want help to explore how they got there, and how they can get out. So if you are one of those people who has been dreading to go back to work, either because the work itself doen’t suit you, or maybe because your co-workers have issues (with you, or with each other), then this is the time to stop and think, and begin to plan how you can change to something more in line with your skills, or your character.

Stop for a moment to think of the things that you loved doing as a child, and at what point someone told you that ‘you can’t make a living’ doing that. Think of the expectations you autmatically registered from the people around you with whom you grew up, and who showed you the way. Was university a ‘must’ or was it for ‘toffs’. Did getting a ‘good job’ mean learning a trade, something to sustain you and your family, or did it mean ambition, career, climbing that coporate ladder.

A favourite metaphore in the burn-out community is the following:

– I climbed the coporate ladder alright, and I did very well, but I just realised that when I got to the top it was leaning against the wrong wall.

And if this person had been my client, I might have asked ‘whose wall’? Whose expectations replaced your own inner wisdom about what you came here to manifest during this lifetime?

However, once people begin to explore what they DO want to do with their lives they come up against the absolute ‘either/or’ options.

– I can’t support myself as a painter, so I have to stick at being an accountant.

I like to remind clients that change doesn’t happen overnight. Sometimes we need to keep one foot in the traditional and one foot on the new path for a while. Imagine a kind of cross over movement, while building up one segment of your life, you are slowly winding down another.

I see that the biggest fear that is holding people back is that their ‘one dream’ will turn out to be just that, a dream. Maybe you’re not cut out to be a painter, or a writer, or a plumber, or an environmentalist…. but unless you try, you will never find out.

Change takes courage, and courage is more about letting yourself be afraid and moving through the fear to do it anyway!

Have fun!


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