The Fear Sunday #5 : Going Back to Work Tomorrow – Checklist Challenge

work advice

Up until about two days ago I was incredibly optimistic about January and work, but on realising i have set myself some big goals and remembering how awful i am at time management and being organised, the panic crept in and now i’m almost mentally paralysed about it. So when i asked the girls what our post should be this week, it was cool that someone suggested this as the topic. But this isn’t a post you get to just sit there and read. Sorry. (Not #SorryNotSorry – i am genuinely sorry.) But GirlCrew’s all about the activities so this only works when translated into real life. Just like friendships. And cake.

So i’m challenging you to do each of the things on the checklist today. It doesn’t matter if you have a job or not, or whether you start back tomorrow or have gone back already or are still contemplating calling in sick for the next month, the checklist challenge is for alla-y’all. Tweet @girlcrewdublin or post on the GirlCrew HQ facebook page as soon as you’re done so we can give you high fives and pats on the back and applause because you are wonderful and amazing and because sometimes, the biggest challenges are not triathalons*, but just doing the dishes. But people barely ever high five each other for that stuff. Which is a terrible pity.

Actually, on that, any time you accomplish anything dull feel free to tweet @GirlCrewHQ and we’ll find a picture of an amazing trophy to tweet back at you or something and tell everyone to follow you. On twitter AND in real life. I’m serious.

*Wordpress’ spellcheck doesn’t believe ‘triathalon’ is a real word and i am inclined to agree.

The Checklist Challenge

GirlCrew Checklist Challenge

1. Choose something about going back to work that you are looking forward to and focus on that.

“I actually am really excited to go back to work. I’m a preschool teacher, can’t wait to see all my kiddies.”

So this particular GCer had no specific advice to give other than to make the rest of us feel awful for having the fear at all, until i realised her advice was between the lines – choose something about work or Monday that you are really looking forward to. I’m sure this girl’s job and life isn’t all that more amazing or better than ours, (it might be) but she’s chosen something to look forward to, even if she didn’t think about it consciously. She gets a high five. Another girl echoed a similar enthusiasm and also gets a high five.

I am one of the lucky ones, I love where I work and the people I work with. I am looking forward to seeing everyone and catching up. While also dreading some of the tasks that will face me because hey, its still work. But I make myself focus on the positive and how the routine will make life go back to normal. Tomorrow I will organise clothes and set an extra alarm. My advice is focus on what you enjoy about work or that a work friend you haven’t seen and want to catch up with. And bring a treat for break time, you’d be surprised how much that will brighten your day. And maybe some fruit for that 3pm slump!”

When you’ve chosen something, try not to auto-click back to the negative thoughts, fear, anxiety or worry. Think about the thing you’re looking forward to a few times and see if you can be happier for longer about it each time. I find happiness to be like a muscle you have to work out. Take it in small steps if you’re usually a miserable (insert any non PG word you like here.) And don’t be hard on yourself if you still end up in a bad mood. Embrace the negativity for a little while. Have you ever read an Irish play? Misery can bring you great success. But i don’t think it’s good for your health long term.

2.  Write down one thing you want to achieve this year.

Just one thing. Even if you have heaps of other lists other places, just choose one for the checklist challenge. Put it in your wallet.

“I write a list at the start of the year and then return to it a while later and tick off all the things I achieved. One time was particularly bad for me and I remember getting a great sense of satisfaction from said achieved list and it really boosted me at the time. I had things on it such such as passing my driving test, doing a camera course, buying my first car. I still have that list two years on and I get a great sense of pride when I see it.”

3. Throw out/give away/donate one thing or tidy something up.

“I can’t wait to take the tree/decorations down I love putting them up but after nye I am dying to put everything back in the boxes.”

What i took from this is, put away stuff you’re done with. But you can do it either metaphorically or literally. Both is good. But for the checklist challenge you can’t give it away tomorrow or next week. If you’re getting rid of one thing by giving it to someone, you have to do it today. Visiting people is a very traditional Sunday activity so this gets you bonus points. Donating it also gets you bonus points but the people in the charity shops barely ever ask you to stay for a cuppa so it’s not quite as enjoyable.

4. Do a food shop.

Do a food shop that includes buying ingredients for at least one healthy lunch, one healthy dinner and one ridiculously unhealthy treat. If you’re intent on being healthy, buy a healthy treat but give yourself a different treat in the supermarket. But it can’t be aspirational like a book you’re never going to read or a yoga block, it has to be indulgent and your brain needs to believe it’s a treat.

5. Prepare – transport, food and clothes. 

Don’t let Lazy Sunday You be mean to Monday Morning You. Monday Morning You has a hard enough time with just having to get out of bed and go to work so make sure he/she can at least get there easily and doesn’t have to do too much thinking.

“Check your car will start by giving it a good run if you haven’t used it much over the holidays and make sure you have topped up leap cards, bus change etc. so there is no stressing!!”

“I meal prep on a Sunday when possible. Keeps me occupied and enjoy it so puts me in a good mood. I clean and I get my stuff organised for the week/do washing. Meant to be the relaxing day but I actually get loads done.”

“Figure out what you’re going to wear. Find it in the wardrobe (just in case it’s actually in for washing – I don’t want to make a plan and then not be able to find it in the morning!) Try it on because I’ve almost certainly put on a bit of weight over Christmas and I don’t want to spend the first day back at work unable to breath! Find tights, shoes, maybe pick out jewellery. Check the weather for tomorrow so I know if the outfit is suitable.”

And then put them on, look in the mirror and tell yourself you are absolutely gorgeous, out loud. Maybe pick a power song. Pick the bit of you you like the best and be like, “Looking good eyebrows” and then pick the bit of you you like the least and be like “I love you too massive thighs, f#ck what the magazines seem to say, you gorgeous, rebellious, absolute beauts.” Out loud if possible for maximum effect.

6. “Live your life a half cake at a time.”

I had to ask to have this explained…

“Sometimes there is nothing better than baking to make a boring sunday not boring. But if you don’t like baking, you can apply the phrase to anything: sewing, walking… i still prefer baking though because you can also not eat all the cake Sunday (like i do) but have a slice of it everyday of the week for a treat.”

Which is lovely, because it’s nice to do something that you love on a Sunday, but you don’t have to NOT do that for the rest of the week. Choose something you love about Sunday and bring it into every day of your week in little, delicious slices.

“I usually plan something for Monday evenings that I look forward to. That way, I avoid the Monday blues. I try to keep it changing from a catch up with friends to cinema to walk dates etc… The lack of routine makes me want it more.”

Another beautiful example of having a slice of cake every day.

Maybe it’s eat half a cake today and one slice each day of the week, maybe it’s a different activity you love each day. Whatever it is, decide now and tell yourself out loud, like a crazy person, that you’re going to do/eat X on Monday, Y on Tuesday, Z on Wednesday etc. The out loud bit is important because it makes your brain sort of go “I get to do what? Oh awesome!”

Bonus Round. Make work beautiful and take some nature in with you.

“I work from home and have a massive deadline on monday so my tip is to buy myself a big bunch of flowers today (lidl’s finest!) so I can actually stand to be in the same room as my laptop – bit of office feng shui!”

Love the idea of having fresh flowers around. And how nice would it feel carrying them into work also?


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