How to Transition Back into Work Mode

I received over 30 out-of-the-office messages this week while emailing for work. I received so many that I actually started to wonder if something was wrong with my computer, until I remembered what time of year it is. It’s those last precious weeks where we try to squeeze in just a few more days of fun, a quick vacation to capstone the summer. Because any day now we’ll all be full-force back into the grind of work for us, and school for the kids.

It’s not all bad though—for many of us we start to get a little tired from all the late nights and travel, and we’re ready to settle in to a bit of a routine. But how do we make that hard right turn from lazy mornings and trips to the shore into balancing activities, school, work, committees, sports, and more? It can feel overwhelming, but before you panic try these simple steps for a smooth transition.

Have a Calendaring Party

Yep—I’m calling it a party. Get your stack of schedules, paperwork, sports team info, school communication, work travel, and holiday plans and settle in for the evening. All that information can feel daunting, but once it’s dealt with you’ll feel so much better. Flip on your favorite easy Netflix show, grab a snack and a drink, and settle in. Work your way through every form, every schedule, and emerge feeling ready to win this fall.

Create a Basic Meal Schedule

Take a look at your weekly activities and determine which nights are crazy hectic, which nights can accommodate a real dinner. Does breakfast call for a grab-and-go option? Can you reserve one night for a slower, more enjoyable cooking session for a special meal? For my schedule I plan on for four nights of quick, healthy meals, one night of takeout, one night of leftovers, and one night for a more involved, special dinner.

Figure out what basic structure suits your needs. Don’t aim too high—you’ll burn out and give up on meal planning all together. Be realistic about your time. And plan ahead to reduce stress, trips to the grocery store, and unhealthy last-minute eating decisions.

Make Room for Moving

Schedule time to work out proactively, rather than trying to fit it into the cracks. Make exercise a part of your weekly rhythm. Be intentional. Prioritize it, and don’t feel one ounce of guilt. It matters for your physical, mental, and emotional health. You’ve heard it before, self-care isn’t selfish. We know we feel better when we take care of ourselves, yet it’s often the first thing we give up when things get busy. We think we’re being smart—selfless—but when we’re run down everything around us suffers. Set aside time to get moving and take care of yourself.

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