How to deal with back-to-work blues from curbing mum guilt with a clever bedtime hack to FINALLY banishing exhaustion

TWO-THIRDS of workers are anxious about returning to the office, the Chartered Management Institute reports.

Nikki Watkins looks at common worries and seeks advice.


TRY to view the last 18 months of being around your kids as bonus family time, rather than focus on what you’ve lost.

Parenting expert Liat Hughes Joshi says: “Looking at the big picture will make you feel less guilty.

Plus, you are being the strong role model of a working parent.”

It is also important to switch off from work when you get home.

Liat says: “Find ways to give your children extra attention in the evenings, such as a longer bedtime story, and properly catching up on how your days went.”


WORKING from home meant time for lengthy workouts like long runs.

But short bursts of exercise can be just as effective, reckons Jenny ­Francis, who is a personal trainer for

She says: “If you are used to long jogs, instead find a nearby hill and sprint up it as fast as you can, then jog back down.

Just 15 of these high-intensity sprints will burn as many, if not more, calories as a long, steady run.

If you used to do 45-minute cardio workouts online, swap these for 20-minute HIIT workouts.

If you enjoyed a long yoga class in the morning, do 15 minutes before work, hit pause, then do another 20 minutes in the evening.”


COMMUTING, bright office lighting and the sensory overload of face-to-face small-talk can be tiring.

But sleep expert Sammy Margo says: “There are steps you can take to make it feel more manageable, like investing in blue-light glasses that will take away the glare from computer screens.

“If you find small-talk draining, focus only on people you have to engage with or who make you happy.

“The sleep you get at night will be improved with a 40-minute wind-down be­fore bed. Ban screens in this time.”


BEING unable to sneak in chores like laundry during breaks may be a shock. So get organised.

Liat says: “Do meal-planning, and schedule set days for chores.

"Get the household involved.

"Think about potential time-saving solutions – are all chores essential?”


COMMUTING again means earlier starts. But there are ways to cut stress.

Sammy says: “Set a daily caffeine cut-off time. Caffeine raises your cortisol, leaving you anxious, and caffeine after 4.30pm will interfere with sleep.

“Travelling to work, instead of reading work emails listen to a mindfulness podcast, favourite song or audiobook.

"Keep a notepad by your bed and, if you wake, write thoughts down.

"This may help to get them out of your head and you can deal with them the next day.”


HALF of managers expect staff back in the office two or three days a week, the Chartered Management Institute says.

Yet many feel pressure to return full-time. If worried, talk to colleagues. Sammy says: “A problem shared really does feel like a problem halved.”

If you need to ask your boss about hybrid or flexible working, consumer expert Emmanuel Asuquo says: “First, review your contract and talk to HR or check the most up-to-date company handbook.

“Request a meeting with your boss and say how you like your job, colleagues and the company.

"Say hybrid working will help you perform, help with your mental health and childcare, and save the company money.

"List your skills and experience. Be confident.”

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