Getting Back to the Grind


For the past week-and-a-half, kids have been returning to school, college and university classes have resumed and the regular 9 to 5 is business as usual. For those that were fortunate enough to have a lengthy break over the holidays, it can be difficult to get back to the grind after a sleeping in, pigging out and not worrying about a day loaded with responsibilities.

If you’re still finding it difficult to get over holiday-mode, here are some tips for returning to school to help get back in the swing of things. (These tips can also be helpful for professionals returning to work or parents resuming their day-to-day demands.)

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Visualize and Focus

Even though your break may have been a month or less long, your subconscious mind might have nicely adapted to vacation-mode. The Warwick Daily News recently interviewed a peak performance coach, Ian Thomas, in an article called “A few tips to get back into the swing of the working week”. Stephens recommended that you physically put yourself in your study or work space and visualize a time when you were successfully productive and happy with your performance. “Mr. Stephens said it was important to see where you were at that time, hear what you said to yourself and feel how it felt to be in that productive zone,” states The Warwick Daily News. “When you do this, your subconscious mind is fooled into thinking you’re actually back in that moment.”

Stephens also recommended picking an individual task, deciding on a reasonable amount of time it should take and timing yourself, with the goal of accomplishing it during that time frame without any interruptions.

Take Breaks and Cut Yourself Some Slack

It is important to ease yourself back into work-mode and to cut yourself some slack if you don’t immediately accomplish the same amount of work you did before the holidays. “Take frequent breaks for the first couple of days back to work,” recommends “These breaks don’t have to entail getting up and taking an hour break down to the nearest store or anything like that. They might be a trip to the water fountain or just standing up and stretching for a few minutes to get the blood moving again.” Pace yourself and strive to do a little more each day.

Eat “Brain Food”, in their article “Brain Food: The Perfect Study Snacks,” recommends people eat certain beneficial foods after they return from a break, rather than obsessively consuming coffee or energy drinks. For example, they recommend leafy greens to help improve memory, fish (such as a tuna sandwich) or high-protein snacks (like beef jerky) for alertness and energy, whole grain muffins, bread or cereal to increase concentration, and berries to help with learning new information. says that even chocolate (preferably dark chocolate) is beneficial for brain functioning!

Make a Balanced Schedule

If you haven’t already, make a balanced daily and weekly schedule. “Balanced” means not only work, class or studying. “Besides your regular class times, try to schedule in set study times, gym sessions and extracurricular activities at set times every day,” says the HBCU Lifestyle Blog. “Plan your social life around your schedule, and try to stick to it…” It is important to have activities where you are hanging out with family and friends and where you are pursuing passions and interests. You can also make a long term schedule of goals, so you can achieve something that you are proud of and also have something to look forward to.