I work with a lot of teachers and this time of year is filled with anxiety, dread, and overwhelm for most.
They've enjoyed a beautiful summer off and are now tasked with the daunting return to work, the intense grind of starting a new year, and the relinquishing of carefree summer days.
It is a harsh transition, a stark contrast to say the least.
Transitions are hard because they're jarring to our system.
Our brains are motivated to do only three things.
This concept is called the Motivational Triad in psychology and is the underlying reason as to why we do, or don't do, anything.
Transitioning from vacation mode to work mode takes a lot of effort, and our brains really don't like that.
So we approach it begrudgingly.
"I don't want to go!!!" we yell internally, mentally kicking and screaming all the way to the schoolhouse doors.
And we feel like shit during the transition:
we feel sorry for ourselves, and then layer that self-pity with self-guilt for feeling self-pity in the first place.
the parade of sweet treats enters stage left like a menacing villain whose victory over us is already written into the script.
If you are a teacher, you know what I'm talking about.
In schools there are sweet treats EVERYWHERE.
People bring homemade baked goods to share, candy is in every colleague's desk drawer, and the staff lounge is stocked with Welcome Back Breakfast leftovers, donuts, chips, and chocolate.
Imagine this all together now:
You're sad about your loss of summer freedom.
You feel sorry for yourself.
And you feel guilty about it.
Oh, and you didn't get enough sleep AND are SUPER stressed and overworked in preparation for the 180 kids who are about to walk through your classroom doors next week... that, too.
What do you think is going to happen next??
You are going to "indulge" in those sweet treats.
You are going to eat "off plan" and get "back on the wagon" tomorrow.
So now the return to work is not only filled with all of those feelings listed above, but you've managed to add stress and anxiety about what you've eaten to the list.
Your brain starts to spin out about how you "have no willpower" and how you really need to "get it together" and just "stick to Keto once and for all"-- followed by a constant deluge of mental lashings and self-punishing behaviors, all of which are detracting from your ability to focus on doing your job well.
This sounds like a recipe for disaster.
So let's rewrite the script.
Because transitioning back to work does not have to be painful.
Here's how to do it better.
How to Transition Back to Work: 5 Steps to Do it Well
One final thought, if your answers to questions #1 and #2 above were negative (I don't have a "why" because I hate my job and I would choose unemployment over this job any day") then we should talk.
You only have one life to live, so living it well should be a non-negotiable.
And having a job you hate is the antithesis of living well.
As Mary Oliver so famously wrote:
Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?
Live well, friends.
Lia Pinelli is a weight loss coach and educator who helps women put an end to emotional overeating and lose weight, permanently.