Hunts and Cambs 01223 233047
Peterborough 01733 553166

Hunts and Cambs 01223 233047
Peterborough 01733 553166

Tips on returning to work after a break

You may have spent the past few weeks lazing around in your nightwear, eating chocolate and watching films.  You might even have been struck down by the widespread virus.  So the idea of returning to work after a prolonged period away is particularly uninviting to many especially after what may have been a relaxing break.
Here are some tips to help you approach your return to work with more positivity and make the most of your first few days back in the saddle.

Preparation is key

Ensure that you're ready for that dreaded alarm call by doing as much preparation during the night before as possible.  Decide what you are going to wear, remind yourself where you need to be and what the day has in store for you, make a healthy snack and ensure you are prepared for your journey (that there is fuel in the car, your train or bus ticket is valid and handy and your car actually starts).  If you car share, maybe remind your lift or passenger of the pick-up time and wish them a Happy New Year).  Most importantly, practice good sleep hygiene to do your best to be fresh for your first day.

Good sleep

Although there are many factors that can influence how well we sleep, there are some tried and tested dos and don'ts.

  • Do ensure that your sleep environement is relaxing and comfortable
  • Do take some fresh air or exercise during the day but not immediately before going to bed
  • Do have a hot milky drink and a relaxing bath before bed
  • Do ensure that your room is a comfortable temperature - not too hot or too cold
  • Do ensure that the room is dark and quiet


  • Don't engage in any activity that is too stimulating during the couple of hours before going to bed, such as playing video games, watching scary or thought provoking drama, arguing with your family
  • Don't eat or drink caffeine or sugar during the 12 hours before going to bed
  • Don't look at blue light immediately before trying to sleep, such as TV or mobile phone
  • Don't use artificial methods to induce sleep, such as drugs or alcohol.  Although they may help you to drift off, your sleep quality is likely to be poor so you wake up feeling groggy

Positive mental attitude

Try to think about what you enjoy about work, rather than the things you like less.  Remind yourself of all the good things you did during the previous year and congratulate yourself on your successes.  Focus on what helped you to succeed and resolve to repeat that success and start afresh with projects and colleagues.

Get organised

Start by organising your desk and workload.  Declutter your workspace, shred old files, reorganise your folders and tackle your bursting email inbox.  Rather than dealing with each item in chronological order, take time to prioritise and manage your first week effectively, creating a realistic 'to do list' and scheduling meetings and deadlines for the following days and weeks.  Catch up with colleagues and clients to establish their priorities to help you set your goals to benefit everyone in the team.

Set goals and SMART objectives for your new start

When you have seen what is on your list, decide on your goals for the day, then look at the next few days, and finally look longer term.  Be clear with anyone pushing you to meet an unrealistic deadline that the quality of work may suffer if sufficient time is not available for you to give their project your full attention and be sure to focus on what you can do, rather than what you can't.

Don't feel you need to do everything in the first day.  If you feel tired at the end of your working day but still have things to do, go home and schedule additional time for when you are more able to cope with the pace and demands of your working day.  Make the most of supportive colleagues and be a supportive colleague to others if you are coping well. 

Be kind to yourself.  Take proper scheduled breaks and kick start your diet and exercise resolutions by making healthy choices.  Better to have a 10 minute brisk walk in the fresh air, than spend 30 minutes moaning to a colleague.  Better to have a nutrient-rich light lunch than to skip a meal.

If it's all too much...

Speak to your line manager or HR about how you are feeling.  If you don't feel any better after a couple of days, review your wellbeing plan and how well you are looking after your physical and mental health.  If things haven't improved after a few weeks, it's time to get to the bottom of the problem.  There may be things about your work or personal life that you need to change.  If you need help to identify what's bothering you, counselling support may help.


To book a session, contact your nearest CCC reception.

Peterborough - 01733 553166         Hunts and Cambs - 01223 233047

Your employer may agree to fund your sessions.  If this is the case, ask them to contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to arrange support for you.