Returning to the workplace after you have been on maternity leave can feel a bit overwhelming. So that’s why I compiled this quick guide to keep you feeling good about your decision and confident in your path. Returning to work myself, after having been home with my twins for months is an adjustment for me as well. But we will do this together and succeed in maintaining our career and being the present parents that we want to be.
1. Focus on the Now
When you’re at work, you’re at work. When you’re at home, you’re at home. Try to really stay true to those times. Because otherwise, you have a blur. When you have a blur, you live in stress, because you always think of the next thing to do. You’re never there fully, you’re never focused, you’re never present in the moment.
2. Create Distinctive Cues when Switching Gears
Create a definitive cut-off time for work each day. A commute back home from the office can signal to your brain work is over. Or if you are home working, a walk around the block can become your end-of-work ritual. Anything you can do to switch your brain from work-mode and signal that it can relax from the stressful environment of the corporate world.
3. Practice Mini-Mindfulness Moments
Give yourself at least five minutes at the start of each day to be mindful. Having a half-hour to meditate would be great, but many of us will not be able to get that first thing in the morning. So instead, make that time to re-center. This will help you to be really in alignment with who you are enabling you to enter every aspect of your day in the right mindset.
4. Your Journey Will Be Unique
Each person finds their own way to go back to their career and does what works best for them. It’s important not to compare your journey to others around you.
5. Create Clear Goals and Objectives
Become crystal clear on what your intentions are. What are your objectives? What is your long-term plan and what is your timeline to get there? Check in with yourself on a monthly basis during the first year back to work to see if these have changed.
6. Don’t Be Afraid to Change What Does Not Work
You are to change your path. Becoming a parent changes your priorities in many ways. Allow yourself the space to grow, the time to be unsure about things. You will find the answers when you enjoy being present in the moment.
7. Pace Yourself
You don’t need to do everything in one go. I learned I had to pace myself. I wanted to go back to work at 100%. But I decided I’m going back at 80%. Because I don’t know if I will manage to juggle both. So that’s a trial. It’s okay to do a trial. That’s how you learn.
8. Expect snags, disruptions and wrong turns
Some parents find time for themselves early in the morning. I tried it and every time I tried, my twins were waking up with me. It didn’t work. So now I try to make time for myself in the evening. It’s about not giving up on the things you know are good for you.