With things slowly starting to move back towards normality, a lot of us are heading back to work. However things are definitely not back to normality yet, and many people are experiencing mixed feelings about going back to work.
Lockdown took most of us by surprise, overnight we lost our freedom – no work, no socialising, no leaving the house. As it went on, we found new ways of living, and adjusted to our new lockdown lifestyles. Some of us really struggled, finding the loneliness and boredom unbearable, others enjoyed it and spent time with family, watched Netflix and chilled out.
Now that the government are loosening restrictions many of us are returning to work. And no matter whether you loved or hated lockdown, it is perfectly normal to feel anxious about returning.
It will be strange. For many of us, the way we work will be different. Some of us will now have to wear masks, gloves, visors and aprons whilst we work. We will have to distance ourselves from colleagues and friends, no matter how much we missed them. And there are endless rules and regulations to now follow.
So it’s no surprise that people will feel anxious about returning to work. Because we are not returning to the work we knew, things will be different. It will take time to adjust to a new way of working, things will continue to change with government guidelines, and it will be a long while before things feel normal again.
But we will find a new normal, like we did during lockdown. This time has brought out an incredible sense of community spirit, with more people looking out for each other than ever before. For every annoying and rude customer who ignores social distancing rules, there will be countless more, who will thank you for coming back to work and doing everything you can to keep each other safe.
Getting through lockdown is an incredible achievement. To have gone through a challenge, that no-one anticipated or prepared for, and to come out the other side, that shows you are strong.
So while you may feel anxious returning to work, know you are not alone, and that is completely normal to feel that way. Take it slow, follow the guidelines, and remind yourself of all the things you have to be grateful for.
First of all, if you have finished your degree – congratulations! What an incredible achievement, through one of the most challenging times you managed to get your work done and finish, you should be proud of yourself!
However, graduating in a global pandemic changes things. Graduation ceremonies have been postponed, you didn’t get a last day and the job market doesn’t look the best right now! But, as always, I am determined to see the positives, and so I have put together a list of things you CAN do when you have graduated in lockdown. And, if you are feeling a bit lost and don’t know what to do – I’m sharing with you a simple way to find a career that you will love!
Remember when you had a million things to do, deadlines were looming and every time you watched Netflix you would start to feel guilty because you weren’t working? Well, no longer! You have worked incredibly hard over the last couple of years and now you can relax. You may still be working, but your free time is now free time.
Watch all the Netflix shows, sleep in til whatever time you want, sunbathe in the sun all day – whatever it is you need to do to relax – do it, you have time for it now! And enjoy the feeling! It’s not often in our lives that we have time to completely relax and not do anything. Take some time to clear your mind and re energize yourself, so that when you do decide you are ready to start looking into your future career you feel ready.
If you feel like you have a little too much free time right now, and you are eager to get your career started, a great thing you can do is volunteer to build up some experience for your CV or portfolio! There are some great initiatives starting, to help connect skilled people with volunteer opportunities like Furlonteer, which is where you can volunteer your time to help charities using your skills!
Not only will this give you something to do, but it will allow you to practice your skills, so when you do apply for a new job you will already have some experience! Also if you are currently unemployed, your volunteering role will fill a gap in your CV whilst you look for work which will make you look better to potential employers!
As you have some extra time, you can use this time to do some training to help you be more prepared for your new career! There are lots of free online courses at the moment as well as a tonne of free webinars which you can learn a lot from. So if you know there’s a skill you will need to get a job, and you feel you need more training in it, now is the perfect opportunity to learn! This will impress future employers as it will show you have been proactive in preparing yourself for your career during a time when most people have just sat on the sofa!
Figure out what to do
If you don’t know what to do, I feel you, I had no idea when I finished my degree. But now is the perfect time to figure that out, you don’t have to rush into a new job! You have the free time, so think about what sort of career you would like, do you want to start your own business, or do you want to stay in education and study further? I recommend having a look at different job descriptions in your field, read what someone in that role actually does to see if it interests you, and read the requirements to see if they match your skills!
Now if you really don’t know what to do next, I have something to help you! Finding a career can seem really daunting, especially if your degree opens you up to lots of different careers. I had no idea, so I did a lot of research into how to find a career, and from this I have put together a way that will help you to pinpoint a career that you will not only be good at, but also one that you will love! Which is what we all want right?!
This worksheet will help you to figure out your dream career by getting you to think about four things 1. What you like doing, 2. What you are good at, 3. How you like to work and 4. What you can actually get paid for. Then based on what you have written, you can look for jobs that have things from each box to find your dream career!
To show you how it works here’s mine:
As you can see each box prompts you to think about something slightly different. By combining elements from each box you can find a career that satisfies each one! So for me, I knew I liked design, I felt I was good at it, I liked working from home and for myself, and I realised I could actually get paid for my design work and potentially sell my designs! Which is how I settled on starting my own design business as it is the perfect combination of my interests, strengths and will actually provide me with an income!
I want you to be able to find your dream career too, as working should be something we enjoy not something we have to do! Download my free dream career finding sheet below!
One thing that has a huge effect on your mood is sleep. When we are well rested we feel happier, we have more energy and our mind is refreshed.
By following this quick routine just before bed, not only will you get a better nights sleep, but it will also help you to end your day with positivity! So if you need to reset your sleeping pattern, or find a way to end a bad day on a positive note carry on reading! There’s a little free download for you if you read til the end!
Put your phone on airplane mode.
We’ve all been there, we said we were going to get an early night and 3 hours later we are still aimlessly scrolling on social media! So to start off your positive night time routine, put your phone on airplane mode. This way you are not going to get any notifications tempting you back onto social media, and you can start to unwind. The blue light emitted by your phone actually reduces the release of melatonin in the brain, which is what controls our sleep cycle! So by putting your phone on airplane mode, you are allowing your body to relax and start to get ready for sleep!
Tidy or clean something for 5 minutes.
The next step is to set a timer on your phone for 5 minutes, and spend that time having a little tidy or clean. You might pick up some clothes off the floor, tidy your dressing table, give your bathroom a quick wipe over, or get rid of all the receipts in your handbag. Just find something small you can do, but make sure you only do it for 5 minutes! This isn’t the time to start re-organising your wardrobe or hoovering the whole house, it’s just a little tidy up. We have all heard the saying before tidy house, tidy mind and it’s true! Taking a little time to tidy, will create a more calm environment for you to relax in, and will also give you a small sense of achievement to end your day.
Make your room cosy
If you have lots of bright lights on, it’s going to be hard to switch off as it will still feel like daytime. Turn a small lamp on, plug in some fairy lights, light a candle and turn the big light off. By making the room darker, you’ll feel yourself relax even more and should feel extra cosy and ready for bed.
Have a shower
I know this is kind of obvious, it’s basic hygiene. But, did you know that having a warm shower before bed can actually help you have a better nights sleep? When you have a shower, the hot water and steam raises your body temperature, and then when you get out of the shower it lowers. This action of cooling down mimics what naturally happens when you fall asleep! So by having a shower before bed, your body will feel like it’s falling asleep as you cool down, making you feel tired, and more ready for bed. I also love to use a shower gel with aromatherapy oils in to make me feel even sleepier!
Write in a journal
Reflecting on the day can help to refocus your thoughts and help you stay positive. I like to write down what I did that day, how I was feeling, some things to be grateful for, and some things I want to do the next day. This helps me to process any thoughts I am having that day, reminds me of good things I already have in my life, and also helps me to set intentions for the following day. If you like the law of attraction, you can also write down some affirmations too!
By taking the time to write a few things down you can clear your mind, set yourself up for the following day, and end your day thinking about all the good things in your life. This should leave you with a calm mind and positive thoughts as you go to sleep. It also helps to make the next day more positive and productive too, as you can re-read what you’ve written in the morning! If you need a little help with this, I’ve created a free before bed reflection sheet that you can download at the bottom of this post!
These 5 simple steps should not take you longer than 15 minutes, and by the end you should be feeling positive, calm and ready for bed. If you still feel awake after following this routine, I would recommend reading until you feel tired, making sure you stay away from your phone! By switching off from technology, and creating a cosy and relaxing atmosphere you should get a great nights sleep, and hopefully you’ll wake up tomorrow feeling even more positive!
If you have any other ways to end your day positively, or improve your sleep comment below as I’d love to know!