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August 06, 2021 Mental Health & Wellness

How to Transition Back to the Workplace

Set yourself up for success with exercise, proper diet, and better sleep hygiene.

By Erin Clifford

Many law firms will be returning to the office this fall. While the transition may be making you anxious, you can set yourself up for success by following these wellness tips. 

  • Do not neglect self-care as you get busier returning to the workplace. Start by checking in with your healthcare providers and schedule any necessary routine appointments. That includes your doctors, dentists, and mental health practitioners, as well as scheduling vacation and/or self-care days into your calendar.
  • Create balance by designing your life based on your top priorities. Pause to consider what you want your life to look like going forward, and if your experiences over the past year and a half have changed your values at all. Is work-life balance more of a priority now? What about quality family time or physical fitness? Your values should determine how you design your lifestyle.
  • Be kind to yourself and give yourself space to transition. It may take time to be comfortable again in work and social situations, as well as pants with zippers.
  • Eat nutritious foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals to support a healthy immune system. Focus on whole foods, such as vegetables, fruits, meat, poultry, fish, nuts, seeds, whole grains, beans, legumes, and healthy fats. Limit sugar, fast food, and alcohol.  
  • Keep healthy meals and snacks readily available in your office. Store nuts, trail mix, packed tuna, and healthy protein bars in your desk. If you have access to a refrigerator, keep raw vegetables and fruits on hand with hummus, tuna/chicken salad, hardboiled egg, sliced turkey, string cheese, and Greek yogurt. 
  • Make exercise a priority to improve your physical and mental health. Develop a consistent fitness routine that fits in with your new work schedule and log it in your calendar. You can also set movement alarms to get up every hour or two to walk or stretch.
  • Organize your professional wardrobe to avoid stressful mornings. Remember to be kind to yourself. You can always replace a few basic pieces that no longer fit comfortably. Your body will transition once you become more active outside your home.
  • Do not underestimate the power of sleep. It is crucial for maintaining your body’s immunity, metabolism, and productivity. Get on a consistent schedule and strive for 7 to 9 hours of quality sleep per night.
  • For many lawyers, pandemic life freed up some space for a moment of calm. Pause every day for a mindfulness activity (i.e., meditation, breathwork, journaling, walking in nature) away from the hustle and bustle of your daily life.
  • Lean on your family, friends, colleagues, and mental health professionals for emotional support. We have all suffered trauma over the past year and a half. Thus, making another transition may be creating some anxiety and uncertainty for you. Take a moment to ask yourself: Are you ok?

Erin Clifford is a holistic wellness coach based in Chicago, Illinois. 

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