Re-entry: Getting back to real life

Each New Year is full of opportunity. People breathe a sign of relief and say, “Thank goodness it’s the New Year!” At the same time we all talk about how quickly the last year went by. We feel a sense of excitement and anxiety as the year begins again.

When we come back to earth after the holidays, we must re-engage with our work. We also may be trying to re-establish a daily schedule or cut back on our sweets intake.
(Okay, I am trying to! AND I am trying to go for a few more walks…maybe even a run?)

The first weeks of a new year can deliver downtrodden feelings: “Oh well, here we go again.” Or: “Man, I am going to go back to this work?”  Or: “What am I doing with my life?”

But the beginning of a new year can also hold feelings of renewal and anticipation. We all have an opportunity to push the reset button. We may be thinking, “I can do this differently this time.”

I am finding it is important to pay attention to both of these tendencies in myself. Although I am deeply grateful for my daily work, it can be hard to go back after taking a break. At the same time, I am thankful for the reminder that we exist in cycles. I like that the end of each year brings a new year, just as every night holds the promise of a new day.

So how do we go back into the old work while holding on to a sense of the new?

I have two big thoughts and a quick checklist for you.

Give yourself more time

Re-entry takes more time than we allow ourselves — so does change. As you enter back into your routines, pay attention to your feelings. If you feel sluggish and find yourself asking, “Can I do this work again? This routine again?” and the answer is YES I can, then go slowly. Take it one step at a time.

Remember, even if the answer is YES you do not have to do things exactly the same way. (In later posts, I will revisit what to do when the answer is NO, I can’t keep doing this work.)


Choose something new, let go of something old

This re-entry period is a powerful time to clear out the old and usher in the new. Perhaps not in a full “New Year’s Resolution” sort of way (although if that works for you – go for it). No I am thinking about the big, big picture way of letting go of what no longer works well, and embracing new ways of being and doing.

Ask yourself what you want to change this year:
“How do I want to feel and act differently?  What do I want to let go of?
What do I want to embrace?”

This year I am letting go of other people’s expectations. (Okay, I am really going to work on this over time.)  And I am embracing the exquisite feeling of being cared for by people who love me.
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Now for the practical advice!

How do you get back into work and life in this New Year?

Review your calendar

Clean up that calendar! I mean it. Clear out the clutter. Delete. Delete. Delete. Then add something that is in line with what you want to embrace.

Mine: Deleting most of my weekend “to do’s” and adding time with my partner on Saturday mornings, JUST US. (See how I did that… my letting go and embracing pieces are all up in my calendar!)

Pick ONE — and only one — new habit or routine.

Got lots of ideas for the New Year? Awesome! Capture them. Right them down.
Now pick one, ONLY one that is super duper doable. Tell some people about it. Do that. Start there.

Mine: Longer meditation in the morning four times a week. This is already something I do – I’m just adding 5 minutes to my meditation time. Doable.

Figure out one thing you love in your working life.

What is one thing you love about your work? Even if work is grimy and tough right now, what is one twinkle in the midst of it?  Write that down. Make it a mantra. Take it to work with you. Remember it on Monday mornings.

Mine: My clients. Really! I love working with my clients.


Find one sweet lovely thing you already do that feeds your spirit, and keep on doing it! Some good probably came from those holiday indulgences. If so, keep it up. (Maybe in moderation… maybe not).

Mine: Some serious sleeping in on the weekends. (Sorry for those of you with kiddos, you may have to pick something different).

Take a few moments right now and ask yourself:

What do I want to let go of this year?

What do I want to embrace?

Choose one or two things and get started. Remember, you don’t have to do it all at once. Take baby steps. You can do this.
Write an answer in the comments below or jump on over to my Facebook page and comment.

P.S. If you love to dig into process and self-help books and want a new way to work toward living out your goals, check out The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte. It’s a great tool for your New Year reset.

Psst… For the next few months, I will be writing about how to deal with a work environment you do not love — or at least one that is exhausting and trying at times.

Annie Von EssenRe-entry: Getting back to real life

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