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Back to School Shopping

by Krista Sheehan ASEBP | September 14 2017

Chances are, each one of you has dedicated at least some portion of the last two months to back-to-school shopping. Whether it be for your child’s first-day-of-school outfit, supplies for the classroom, new décor for your office or groceries for meal prep—no matter what store you enter, you are constantly reminded that it’s time to return to work (and that Christmas is only a few months away depending on the store you’re in!).

Returning From a Leave

One would think that returning to work after my third maternity leave would be a piece of cake. For me, however, coming back from leave was a whirlwind of emotions—excited to nervous and everything in between. Would my colleagues be the same? Would change have occurred? Would my work environment stay consistent? And not to mention, would my family survive without me while I was at work?! Recognizing that all of these emotions were normal, I had to shift my mindset and be realistic. I had no doubt that I already knew the answers to the questions I had previously asked myself. In a year, how could things NOT change? Whether it’s a maternity leave, sick leave or summer vacation, the return to work can often be a stressful time for both the one returning and the rest of the team. So now’s the time to shift your mindset!

Stock Up on Wellness

Imagine yourself walking into a wellness store that doesn’t sell any material goods. As you enter the store, what would your impression be? What would the customers and staff be like? What kind of energy would you feel? What would make you want to stay in the store? And now, most importantly, what kind of items would you put in your cart? For me, some of the things that filled my wellness cart after returning from mat leave were support, knowledge, routine, time, adjustment, gratitude, adaptability, rest, friendship, balance, embracing, flexibility and re-connection.

And for those of you who are having a hard time picturing what that shopping trip might look like, here are some tips to help guide your back-to-work transition, ensuring it’s as smooth as possible for everyone:

  1. Sleep well.Getting enough zzz’s will mean you have enough energy to manage day-to-day activities. Print off page 11 of the wellness poster series for more info on how our technology habits can impact a good night’s sleep.
  2. Maintain the calm. Remember to be patient with yourself and your teammates—it takes time to settle into a new routine.
  3. No pressure. Don’t add pressure to your life by setting unrealistic goals. Take the transition back into the workplace one day at a time.
  4. You’re in it together. Remember, you are part of a team and no one can do it alone. Lean on the supports—like Homewood Health—and resources available to you.

Take Your Time

As you get back into the full swing of things, dedicate the time with your team and use this as an opportunity to go shopping. Fill your carts with what you need to make the transition back as smooth as possible to help welcome colleagues back to the workplace—or for you to dive into an old/new job from a leave. Trust me, this cart won’t cost nearly as much financially as a trip for back-to-school goodies but I guarantee it will have a far-more lasting effect.

So I ask you again, what would your cart look like this back-to-school season? Happy shopping!

Krista Sheehan

Formerly ASEBP’s program manager, Health Promotion Services, Krista holds degrees in both physical education and nursing and offers up more than a decade of experience in public health with a focus on school health nursing. When not obsessively talking about her love of the Philadelphia Flyers, she can be seen awkwardly diving for cover in stealth attempts to avoid her greatest fear: bird poop.