Who had the WORST case of Sunday night dread returning to work after the Christmas break? My January blues were far worse than normal. I’m sure that the time off lulled me into a false sense of retirement and then slapped me in the face with the harsh reality that it was just a holiday!  And then, not only do I have to listen to that dreaded alarm every morning, cope with the dark cold mornings and traffic congestion but I’m also absolutely skint! However I did achieve my key objective of surviving January (just)!

I know I’m not alone in this feeling, it’s a hot topic of conversation with my friends. One was saying how she actually felt anxious returning to work (and she generally loves her job). So that got me thinking, if it’s awful for us as the employees, how must it be for our managers?  Managers are human too (honestly they are), they’ll be feeling the same but still have a main objective of motivating their teams.

Firstly, I think it’s really important for everyone to recognise the feeling and identify that the sense of dread is not necessarily that we hate our jobs or our managers (although I did hear a statistic on the radio that over 50% of us will be looking to change roles this year).  No matter what position we’re in, employee or manager, the sole objective of getting through January is a challenge in itself. But even though we may have felt exhausted, we definitely will have benefited from the break.

If you’re generally happy in your role then the beginning of February is a great time to do some reflection and set some goals.  Do you want to take on more responsibility?  Do you want to learn a new skill?  Or, do you simply want to provide evidence this year that you deserve a pay rise?  As with any goal, you can aim as high as you like, but you’ve got to ensure it’s achievable (I mean my goal of becoming Mrs Gerard Butler one day could be called a ‘stretch target’, but I like to think not unrealistic!).  You could even engage with your manager to help define your goals and if relevant align them with your objectives or build them into a development plan.  Having someone’s guidance to help you achieve goals generates a great team culture, and gathering feedback along the way is invaluable for personal development.

Another productive exercise is to get organised, our workloads can be absolutely over-whelming, so why not break them down into manageable chunks, perhaps even set a short-term SMART objective or two so that you get that sense of achievement when you complete something.  Small personal wins will make February the driving month that lays the foundations for a positive year ahead.

So yes, achieving that objective of surviving January was tough, it was the time to readjust and reflect (and scream at the alarm clock)…but that’s done now, time to shake those January blues off and embrace being back at work – until your manager signs off your next little piece of freedom.

Signed: Mrs Gerard Butler (to be!!!)

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