It’s September and the summer days are winding down as locals take their last beach trips, transition out of summer Fridays and light workloads, and soak in the last of the warm weather. Now that Labor Day is behind us and fall settles in, many of us battle the “Sunday scaries” on a larger level as we attempt to readjust back to our routines after a nice break. While there are so many things to love about fall, the transition away from summer mode can feel overwhelming and stressful. Luckily, we’ve compiled some tips for helping acclimate to routine after summer break. Read on to learn tips and strategies for adjusting + acclimating to routine after vacation, from local therapist Heather Rafanello, @GrowingMindsetTherapy.
It is completely normal for people to desire feeling competent, relative, and autonomous. Not only is this the goal, but it is essential during times of challenge and change. We all have internal homeostatic mechanisms that monitor our needs. If someone is experiencing too much of a good thing, their alarms will turn around and shift their motivation towards something else to create balance. For example, perhaps you have felt stuck or stagnant for a period of time and you crave adventure, or might find yourself rearranging your furniture just to feel a sense of change or refresh. This is your body reacting to “too much sameness” and pushing your motivation towards newness and change.
On the contrary, when people face too much change or a difficult adjustment, their body craves comfort, familiarity, and sameness. This is why adjustments can be so difficult, because a person’s external life is in direct conflict with their inner wants and desires.
We all have varying needs that make us so unique. Within these various needs also lie varying degrees of motivation, which require you to make some time (yes, make time because we don’t all naturally have the time) for self reflection to learn about yourself, and what you need to deal with these changes.
As you’re transitioning back from break and attempting to acclimate to routine, here are some tips for finding success.
Tip 1: Declutter Your Time, Energy, + Life
Think about a cell phone: some apps drain the phone’s battery more than others, and often people leave numerous apps running in the background. Adjusting to change, whether back to school, work, or between seasons, is already a task that consumes much of a person’s mental and emotional energy. As a result, it can be helpful to consider what other life events might be running in the background of our lives, and declutter the things that are consuming so much of our energy.
Tip 2: Recharge
Just like the former point, think of a phone battery. Sometimes you might need to put your phone on ‘battery save mode’ to get through the day. Similarly, this is a matter of investigating how you can refocus your time and energy to conserve your motivation. Also, some phones need to be recharged a few times a day, while other phones charge up overnight. Check in with your own internal battery, and recharge as necessary. This can be a quick water break, a walk down the hallway in the office, or a scheduled lunch. Give yourself the time to recharge.
Tip 3: Create a Plan
It is incredibly important to ensure that one is prepared for the upcoming adjustment. Meaning, when possible, make sure that you have the information and resources required for the upcoming task. (Are your devices charged? Have school supplies been purchased? Do you have the appropriate clothes? etc.)
Tip 4: Focus on Autonomy
Create a sense of autonomy by giving yourself a bit of choice where possible. This can be done in a variety of ways, depending on the flexibility of one’s day-to-day requirements. Perhaps your company offers a flexible daily schedule, meaning you can work earlier in the morning or later in the day, or maybe there’s a hybrid WFH option. If nothing else, be thoughtful about choosing the clothes that you wear, the meals that you pack, and the routine that you follow before and after work.
Tip 5: Support
It is so important for people to know how to be effective in their work and where to seek help as needed. It’s important to make sure that interactions with others are meaningful. This can mean setting up a 1:1 or team meeting to get caught up on some new happenings, or this might even mean declining an optional meeting to save time and emotional energy for other tasks. Ask for help and provide help to others when feasible.
It’s all about balance. When possible (and this is not always the case), ensure that for the first few days have a sense of balance. As previously mentioned, making time to create uplifting routines before and after work shifts can ensure that people are fully charged and able to engage in their tasks and activities.
Grounding ourselves in our values is essential — remember what’s important and prioritize that. When something feels too heavy or too much, that’s probably because it is. The body is an incredibly perceptive thing, so listen to it. Be mindful about work life balance. Of course, it’s important to do what is necessary to fulfill your job description, but be gentle and intentional when possible.