Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Vacation is Officially Over

It's another Thursday morning in the office and I'm sitting at my desk clicking the heels of my boots, eyes closed and whispering methodically, “I can make it to Friday! I can make it to Friday. I can make it to Friday?”

I'm officially post-holiday and feeling the sting.

It seems that things at work are getting more and more unpredictable as the company enacts sweeping changes. I've been around longer than most, more than five years, and I've never seen it quite like this. Restructuring, administrative musical chairs, cryptic company-wide memos, nixed holiday bonuses; its leaving me slightly on edge.

I've taken to sorting my afternoon Chex Mix snack into neat categories to calm my nerves. And, despite all the weirdness, it's insanely busy.

Taking a week and a half of PTO at the end of the year has caught up with me in a tremendous way. I've made the decisions eat lunch at my desk more than once since coming back. I'm seriously wondering if time off is work the hassle once its over? The flooded inbox, the mountain of sticky-note tagged items in my chair, the multitude of voicemails that must be returned though I know that half of them probably don't remember calling in the first place. (*sigh*) But alas, I have work, which is more than can be said for 10.2% of Georgians, so really I shouldn't complain. Somehow, holiday gifts are still trickling in Mid-January and there's nothing like an unexpected jar of individually-wrapped Rice Krispie Treats to brighten up a day!

And the weather has been miserably cold. Yes, I know its January but us southerners are accustomed to mild winters with the occasional two or three day "wintry mix" thrown in just to remind us why we choose not live in colder climates. But this frigid weather descended upon the Southeast over a week ago with temps dipping into the teens. At one point, Atlanta was colder than Alaska. . . Alaska, people! No one has time to be courteous now. Southern hospitality fades at 17 degrees. It even snowed, once, and only a few inches fell but since we were below-freezing, it hung around for days. Ice slick roadways made driving, even walking, hazardous. I actually made it across the frozen parking lot at work only to step in the door and slip. The fall was legendary. Think Home Alone. I was on the ground before I realized I was falling.

No, there is not a lawsuit pending but it did get me to thinking about a very real disorder, post-holiday blues, as I lay there wondering if anyone had witness the fall. PHD is a living, breathing, palpable funk that usually hits hard this time of year after the intense excitement of the end of the year holidays, especially if there's craziness at work. The lack of energy and motivation, sticker shock from overextending on must-have Black Friday deals, the fact that the next paid holiday may not be until May and just overall bad mood can strike even the most focused Working Girls so I googled these tips for getting back into the groove:

  • Exercise! Okay, you’ve probably heard this a million times but exercising does make you feel good! Start working some form of exercise into your daily routine—you don’t have to buy a gym membership; going on walks or a 20 minute run three or four times a week is good enough, as long as it gets the heart pumping. Exercising will make you feel more alert and awake, which will help you perform well at work, even if you don’t want to be there. It will also help you get to bed at a reasonable hour, which will help your sleeping schedule get back in order. And of course, it will make you look good as well as feel good!
  • Clean up. Get organized and put away all holiday decorations. This will help you mentally move on and get into a better mindset to get back to work. It will also take some stress off, knowing that you get to come home to a clean environment will give you some peace of mind.
  • Take time to reflect on the wonderful things you did during your vacation. You may realize that, although the holiday is sadly over, you made the most of your time off and had a lot of fun. This will make it easier to accept that it’s time to get back to normalcy.
  • Don’t forget about the little ones! Adults are not the only ones that don’t like going back to the old routine—your kids feel it too! Help establish the old routines by getting them to bed early and limiting how much TV they watch. Encourage them by reminding them that school is fun and how all their friends are excited to see them again. Have a positive attitude about going back, so that your children will mirror this positivity.
  • Start thinking about the next fun thing you want to do, or the next vacation you want to take, so that you have something else look forward to.


Alissa said...

I'm sorry HCWorking Girl, this Northern HCWorkingGirl has no sympathy for cold southerners! In fact, you said it yourself, "there's no southern hospitality below 17 degrees" - so now you know why there's no such thing as Northern Hospitality! ;)

Anonymous said...

Advice to the WG from "Been There."
1) Never skip lunch, regardless of how busy you feel. You will be much more productive for the remainder of the day if you take a minimum of a 30-minute break AWAY from your desk
2) Take "mini vacations" by letting your mind travel to a "place of your dreams" (I'm thinking a sun-drenched tropical island in the South Pacific spending precious moments with the love of my life) for 5 minutes or so). Then get back "to it" feeling more rested and less stressed.
3)Smile warmly at the next person you see, thinking kind thought in spite of your relationship with them. Just do it; it's for you--not them!
Remember, that every challenge you face makes you stronger, if you are willing to embrace, endure, and overcome the obstacles. Being content is in your head and heart, even in the dead of winter.
(I know what you are didn't ask for advice!)

Chrissy said...

Too cute HealthCare Working Girl! I can related to all that you said! More than most know! Great blog!

Maddy said...

I second Alissa's comment! So true! But I can relate with the mountain of work waiting for me when I return from even a one week vacay. I couldn't imagine would it would be like after a week and a half! I also agree that sitting out your lunch break is not the answer. That 30 minute -1 hour break is a life life. And it recharges your battery. I swear by my lunch breaks! Good Luck!

Jill said...

Great tips! I don't like my job either but I'm glad I have one when so many are unemployed.

anne said...

i love chex mix too! :)

i've recently started exercising, and while this time of year is always tough for me, lately i have -so- much energy and positive thinking. i'm excited!!

i am also in the south, and it got up to 60 today! i was soooo happy. that cold snap can exit stage left right now.

and i agree with you; i love little vacations, but dread opening my email upon my return... ACK! it's like a pto punishment, lol.. ;)

Elle said...

Living in NJ, I completely understand the post-holiday blues. I'm not a fan of the cold, so everything seems a bit bleak when the weather outside is making me shiver. But I'm excited to know that Southern Hospitality is a product of the warmer weather, haha. It makes sense why the tri-state area is so bitter sometimes :)!

Anonymous said...

Good tips. I work from home doing freelance work, and I've found I'm much more productive throughout the day if I take a break away from my desk as well.

I need to get on that Exercise thing!

Nishant said...

Being content is in your head and heart, even in the dead of winter.

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