The Montfort Group

Tips for managing back-to-work anxiety

Taking time off is essential to mental well being as it can help mitigate burnout, improve mood and increase concentration and job performance. Research shows that 87% of us dread returning to work after vacation and nearly 30% work more than planned while away due to fear of falling behind. Here are some tips on how to manage post vacation anxiety and fully enjoy the benefits of time off:

  1. Carve out some time to prepare for your vacation: tie up loose ends, clear as many projects as you can from your desk and create a detailed OOO plan specifying who will cover communication and ongoing projects.
  2. Set clear boundaries – decide in advance what constitutes a work emergency and which priorities you would be willing to address during your time off. When you define expectations of yourself and others you are more likely to relax and be truly present while away.
  3. Pace yourself – allow time to adjust and ease back into the workflow. How we talk to ourselves matters, be kind and patient with yourself; remind yourself that it will take time to catch up on everything you’ve missed.
  4. Step back into your work week routine – do you have daily rituals? Perhaps you like to have a cup of coffee while checking email or eat breakfast while reading the news? Whatever your usual routine is, start your workday in a familiar way. The predictability of a daily routine creates a sense of safety and helps keep anxiety at bay.
  5. Set yourself up for success: have a simple, attainable, and realistic first day back plan. As you check the tasks off your to do list you will get a sense of accomplishment and feel more confident and energized.
  6. Have a bedtime ritual conducive to relaxation and deep rest – you can take a bath, use essential oils, read a book, or listen to calming music.
  7. Breathe – the breath is our most important and easily accessible stress managing tool. Set a few reminders on your phone to take brief (15-30sec) meditation breaks throughout the workday; go through a few rounds of deep breaths with the exhales longer than the inhales. When you calm your nervous system down, you will feel less overwhelmed and will free up capacity to handle work challenges.
  8. Create small positive reminders – Write down 3 things you like about your job. When you catch yourself dreading the return to work and longing for the joy of vacation, these reminders can help pull you out of negative thoughts and refocus on your professional goals.
  9. Notice – pay attention to the waves of anxiety; are there recurrent thoughts? what is the underlying emotion? Is this just temporary overwhelm? Are you simply worried about your ability to tackle the avalanche of work on your desk? Or is this a sign of a deeper issue? Perhaps your priorities have changed? Or maybe you feel a more general sense of lack of fulfillment and satisfaction in the workplace? Emotions provide valuable information. What are you learning about yourself?
Gergana Markov, MBA, MS, LPC

Gergana Markov, MBA, MS, LPC

I am a National Certified Counselor and Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Texas. I received my Masters of Science in Counseling from Southern Methodist University and also hold a Masters in Business Administration from Georgia State University. I had a successful career in real estate acquisitions, corporate marketing, and advertising prior to becoming a counselor. My clinical training and experiences include counseling individuals, couples, and groups in various treatment settings, including private practice, community clinics, and hospitals. I am an EMDR trained therapist and utilize trauma-informed interventions in my practice. Additionally, I have specialized training in parent-child dynamics, gender and sexuality issues, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, and Safe Conversations for couples and communities. I am also a passionate LGBTQ+ ally.

Schedule Online

It's easy to set up an appointment with us - see what's available now!

Our Blog

Therapy thoughts

Plano Counseling
Cory Montfort, MS, LPC-S

Adjusting To A New Normal

On Episode 21 of the Topic: North Texas podcast, I sat down with team members, Ashley Mergele and Patrick Brophey of the North Texas Commission to discuss how mental health has been compromised following the COVID-19 outbreak.

Read More »
body image issues
Gergana Markov, MBA, MS, LPC

How to Deal With Emotional Loneliness

Human beings are wired for connection, and we need it to survive and thrive. Cultivating connections in relationships with ourselves and others can help combat loneliness along with these six prevention techniques. 

Read More »