Back to Work

So it’s that time of the year again, the new year and back to work after the Christmas holidays, chock full of new year’s resolution waiting to be dashed against the rocks of every day life and humdrum routine. Resolutions that will, inevitably, succumb, to quote the poet Ace Ventura, to the chewy chunks of degradation.

I’ve been gearing myself for this return to work and the inevitable stress that comes with it, for the past two days. Mentally preparing, doing some mindfulness, a bit of yoga and some mountain biking without mountains. All in the hopes of not having a nervous breakdown and subsequent embarrassing, screaming at co-workers, hiding and crying in the toilet stalls, typical meltdown on my first week back at work. It hasn’t worked for shit.

Don’t get me wrong, I like my job and I actually like the people I work with, some of them anyway. But going back to reality after a two week holiday is a terrible and shocking experience. It’s not so much the work itself, but the huge change in comfortable, enjoyable routine that comes with it. One moment you’re waking up late, spending all morning in bed reading, talking and doing other enjoyable, sensuous and sensual experiences, the next you’re waking up early to the trill of an annoying alarm, having slept only six hours, feeling like a fucking zombie, dreading the one hour commute to work only to dread the nine hours incarceration, chained to a computer, sitting on your arse all day, without even glimpsing the occasional peek of the sun.

One day your biggest stressful moment is deciding where to go for a bike ride, the next you are faced with myriad stressful moments, great and small, in the course of a single day at a fucking office. Co-workers, deadlines, more co-workers, that particular person you don’t want to see for a particular reason. The person you do want to see, but you shouldn’t for a different particular reason. The co-worker who talks too much and won’t leave you alone, the one that tells you what to do and how to do it, etc, etc.

Some people don’t have these problems, some people don’t even have to go into an office! These supercilious and smug bastards would read a post like this and feel pity for us office drones, drowning in the insufferable and futile rat-race that are our daily lives. All for what? To wonder, in the end, what the hell did I spend so much time at the office for? It sure as hell wasn’t for me! I hate those life-loving, joyful bastards!

But it’s not all apocalyptic nightmares. Working in an office means you get to meet different people that you would never meet otherwise. It means you also get to learn, from some of them, amazing things. It means you get to experience a diverse ecosystem of human life, especially if you work in a big, cosmopolitan city like London. Yes, you are part of the rat-race and the commute is awful but to be able to live in and enjoy a city like London, you have to make those sacrifices. Nothing in life is free.

So I don’t have a magic kernel of wisdom to impart here to make your back-to-workexperience any better. I’m in the same boat as all you hapless, unfortunate idiots out there. But I do have a few tips:

Get more exercise

If you can, bike or run to work. This will greatly help with the stress.

If you can’t, find a gym or martial arts centre nearby. Any sort of exercise will help with the daily stress and awfulness of modern lives in a big city.

Even getting off a couple of tube or train stops away from work and walking the rest of the way will help.

Work smarter

This means, take more breaks, talk to people, go for walks, leave the walls of your entombment and see the world outside, smell the flowers, or the piss on London Bridge if flowers are scarce on the ground. Whatever, just get out.

No matter how busy you are, you will always have time for a stroll around your prison complex.

Take the time to do it, it will make a difference in your every day life.

Negotiate a different schedule that works for you

Maybe working from home a couple of days a week, or arriving a bit later and leaving a bit later, this way you avoid the terrible rush hour commute that zaps your energy and your will to live every day. A rush-hour commute will start you off on a bad foot already and everything will seem to be downhill from there.

Spend time doing something that make you happy every day

That could be reading, or watching a nature programme on TV of squirrel-molesting in the park or dressing up as a tranny or spending time with your family, I don’t know. Whatever it is just do it.

Be grateful

This, I think, is the most important thing you can do. No matter how awful the commute is or how stressful your work, or the deadlines, etc. you will always have something to be grateful about. Starting with the fact that you have a job to stress about and make you prematurely old and invalid! Many of people don’t.

Be grateful for the fact that this job allows you to live in the city that you choose to live in (if it doesn’t, it’s time to move or find another job that does).

Be grateful that you are in relatively good health and can do your job.

Be grateful that you are not in a city besieged by war (lots of people are these days).

I could go on and on but you get the point. Think about things that you can be grateful for, the experts say at least three things, and be grateful for them every day and every evening. Write them down, it helps.

Best of luck out there.