Tips for Returning to Work after a Holiday: Rest – Restore – Rejuvenate

I still remember the exhaustion that seemed to accompany this week of Thanksgiving. When I started my Montessori training my children were quite small: 2 and 6, and our family schedule was like many: too full with appointments outside the work and school day. Life could be pretty crazy! 

We didn’t get the entire week of Thanksgiving off, and it was just post-conference-report time (I was overwhelmed just from writing the music section!) and my kids’ dad didn’t get the week off from his symphony job, so the thanks we were giving was to have a day in the middle of the week when NONE of us had anything to do! I imagine some of you can relate.

In those days, even with the extra two days off, I often went back to work feeling like I was more rested, but also stressed because I “should” have done more to prepare for the holiday weeks ahead.

In the years since those early days, I’ve come to seek respite from my busy life in ways that had less to do with “doing nothing” than in doing the “right” things: those things that would help me feel re-invigorated, revived from the overwhelm of the push to Thanksgiving, and ready to return to work with a sense of having been renewed mentally, emotionally, and spiritually…along with being ready for the weeks ahead.

So here are my “new” rules for taking a break and finding the rejuvenation that keeps me connected to my passions.

  1. REST: sleep, nap, curl up with a good story and let it take over! Enough said!
  2. Change the channel – Do something that uses the muscles not usually a part of your regular routine. For me, that is working in the garden or planning an outdoor project. It could also be taking a picnic and a good book to the beach and just hanging out for a few hours…instead of my usual go there to walk and then moving on to the next thing in my day. This channel change, especially to the gardening channel, wakes up the parts of my body, mind and spirit that have taken a back seat to other things. That wake up feels AMAZING!
  3. Reflect and Reset: Take some time to reflect on all the things that have been accomplished, completed, or are checked off your To Do List…and give yourself a pat on the back and even a reward! You deserve it! As you are basking in that sense of accomplishment, think about how you felt as you were working through those action items and if there was anything you’d do differently. Then, look at the things that are coming in the days or weeks ahead. Prioritize not only what needs to be done, but also how you want to approach the tasks. Think about how you’d schedule out getting them done…a little at a time. I like the “3 Big Rocks-a-day” perspective, chunking my projects into manageable daily chunks that help me feel like I’m moving forward, even just a little. You’ll return to work, ready to go!
  4. Plan time to just sit with your friends or family…play a game, take a drive, sit on the deck…just hang and talk with the intention of knowing each person in a new or different way. I have especially appreciated time with my children as they’ve become older adults. Learning to let go of past aspects of our relationship and just be with them as if they were someone I’d never met before has brought a renewed joy in being a parent.
  5. Learn something new! I recently took a short drawing class that has given me a new lease on meditative drawing practice…something I’d never have suspected would feel this good. Today, one of my mentees said she’d taken up drawing again, giving herself a new perspective on observation and reflection.

I hope that among these ideas, something will spark for you so that you return to work next week, or after any extra few days off, not only rested, but also restored and rejuvenated for the days ahead.

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!