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2021: getting ready to return to work

I am still on holiday, which I am grateful for. The past year left me exhausted and by the time I finished work in December I was ready for a break. Nearly three weeks in and I have recovered some much needed energy and my sense of humour 🙂

With little let up from the pandemic and the impact on my working life continuing to increase, I feel it’s time to level up my preparation for the year ahead.

I usually write review/reflection posts at the end of the year, as I did for 2020 (post 1 and post 2), so this is the first of three posts that are looking ahead to this new year.

In this post, I share what I focus on to prepare to return to work, starting with practical, well-being focused actions I am taking.

1% more comfortable

My yoga teacher used to prompt me to think of ways in which I could be 1% more comfortable, for example by putting a cushion under my head or stretching out my legs. So I am setting about making my work space more comfortable, even just a bit:

  • I have a prism and I have set that up on the window sill to cast a rainbow on the wall and ceiling on sunny days. It’s a small thing, but something fun and creative that takes up little space and keeps surprising me;
  • I have a mug with a cwtch, or Welsh hug, on it, which is a small change but makes me smile and it reminds me to drink more tea/water;
  • Thanks to a click and collect service at a small independent plant shop here in Cardiff, I am starting the year with some new work plants:
New growth and blooms

A better daily routine

In the run up to Christmas, things got so hectic, I didn’t manage to stick to much of a routine outside of just working every hour that I could. It’s not sustainable nor is it necessary for me to work such long hours and so I am practising a better daily routine.

My asthma plays havoc with running in these cold temperatures and I don’t like running in the dark, so although I am going to make an effort to get regular exercise, it’s not a daily commitment I feel I can keep just now.

Instead, I am going to combine things with some help from a mindfulness app I like (Calm) to set a better balance for my working week:

  • Lunchtime walks to get that all important daylight;
  • Short bits of guided meditation or breathing exercises before I start the day, so I have at least 10 min of calm before I look at my inbox;
  • Some gentle yoga and stretching a couple of times a week;
  • Keep writing.
Candles help me on the mat

Investing in my work space long term

I have been working from home full-time for a couple of years now, so I had a good set up before the pandemic. That said, I moved house in March last year and I am soon going to move again from temporary to more permanent accommodation and that gives me an opportunity to rethink my home office.

In my current office I still have filing cabinets that I bought in the 1990s, which have been through school, university, art school and decades of working across different countries. Maybe it is time to move on from some of these and invest in a new set up for the kind of professional practice I now have.

Having a dedicated work space at home is a relative privilege in these times of crisis – and I am fortunate to still have a good job that I love. In order for me to do that job as well as I can, and after a year of having some very temporary, make shift solutions for my work space, I feel this is the time to invest some time, money and effort into making my next home office as pleasant as it can be. To provide me with a little more comfort, inspiration and joy in 2021.