41. What If I Don’t Feel Motivated To Go Back To Work After Break?

Join me in a candid exploration of the emotional rollercoaster that often comes with heading back to work after a break.

We will be diving into the mix of feelings we all encounter during this transition, plus, offering insights and reassurance that you’re not alone.

Key Highlights:

  • Mixed Emotions: I discuss the normality of feeling a range of emotions as you gear up to return to work.
  • Personal Christmas Adventure: Hear about my unique Christmas experience in Puerto Rico with my son, and the moments that left me both refreshed and fatigued.
  • Rediscovering Your Why: Explore the importance of reconnecting with your passion for being a school counselor and the positive impact you make on students’ lives.

This episode leaves you with practical strategies to ease back into your routine and prioritize self-care.

Remember, your feelings are valid, and by acknowledging them, you pave the way for a positive start to the new year.

Tune in to the full episode for encouragement, relatable stories, and valuable insights.

Plus, don’t forget to download the Energy Inventory so that you can discover the things that are bringing you energy and the things that are draining you during this season.




Carol: You're listening to the counselor chat podcast, a show for school counselors looking for easy to implement strategies, how to tips, collaboration, and a little spark of joy. I'm Carol Miller, your host. I'm a full time school counselor and the face behind counseling essentials. I'm all about creating simplified systems, data driven practices, and using creative approaches to age students. If you're looking for a little inspiration to help you make a big impact on student growth and success, you're in the right place because we're better together. Ready to chat? Let's dive in.

Carol: Hi, everyone, it's Carol. Welcome back to another episode of Counselor chat. I'm so glad that you're here with me today. I'm especially grateful for you if you are listening as this episode comes out, because it means that you are in the middle of winter break and I really appreciate you spending some of your time with me today. Well, today we're going to talk a little bit about those feelings that you might be having as you think about heading back to work, especially heading back to work after a little bit of a break. And I know some of you are probably like, woohoo, I'm ready to go. And some of you are like, not yet, please. I can't even. And there are stages, my friend. All those feelings, they're normal. And I can tell you there have been breaks where I had been so anxious to go back to work. Like, I really couldn't wait to go back. And then there have been others where I felt I had been so busy during the entire break, cooking and cleaning and carting kids from one event to another to going to different parties and being a chaperone and being a chauffeur and all the other mom duties, as well as hostess duties and everything else that you could think of that I felt. I didn't have a moment to really sit down and recharge and reset myself before going back to work. And then there were times that I also was so satisfied with break that I was really enjoying my time off and vacationing and doing all the things that the thought about going back to work just stressed me out because I wasn't ready to go back to that. And I think all those feelings are normal. And another thing, if you're just starting off, you might be surprised that in different years you might have different feelings about how you're feeling towards going back to work. So there are really a big mix of emotions as the break comes to an end. And today we're really going to dive into that because I want you to know that you're not alone, and you really need to acknowledge your feelings. And I'm here to help provide you some little bit of encouragement to get you started in the new year on a positive note. So really, you have to first acknowledge those feelings, because it's completely normal to feel all those mixed emotions about returning to work after break. And like I said, we all need some time to recharge and relax and spend quality moments with our loved ones. And so it really is a tough transition to go back. Last year, my son Charlie and I, we did something a little bit different for Christmas. I mean, we left the rest of my family home. And Charlie and I, he's one of my youngest sons, one of the twins. We went to Puerto Rico, and we spent five days in the sun and the sand, just loving life, touring the city, exploring everything that San Juan had to offer. We did a trip to the rainforest. We saw the bioluminescent bay. We swam in it. We did some really cool things. And so I can tell you, when we got back, I was pretty tired. We had also walked so much that the muscles in my legs were achy. I think we walked about 10 miles every day. And so, as we were heading back into the new year, I totally was not ready to go back, even though I was totally refreshed and feeling really good about life and having that time with my son. But it was okay. I think one of the things that is really helpful as we head back is to really think about our why. And my friends, I know each of you has your own reason why you feel like you were called to this profession, and you have to remember your why. I think sometimes we lose a little bit of sight of that. But as school counselors, we have the incredible opportunity to really make a positive impact on the lives of our students. We are the ones who provide guidance, support, and a listening year when they need it the most. And our work is meaningful and it matters. So as you prepare to return, remind yourself of the difference you make in the lives of those you serve. Now, let's talk about some strategies that can really help you ease back into the swing of things. Because one of the things that I do that has been really one of the most effective approaches that I've done for myself is pretty easy. I always try to give myself a little wiggle worm. Wiggle room. I guess that's it. Wiggle room to get back into the swing of things. And what I mean by that is I try to have my calendar for January planned before I head back into the new year. And I always give myself a little extra white space in my calendar on the first couple of days of returning to work. So that means I try not to have things tightly scheduled in those spaces. Because let's face it, who knows what's going to pop up on those first couple of days of returning. Nothing ever really seems to go as planned. So if you can allow yourself a little extra white space in your schedule, I think you're going to find that it's going to give you a little extra time to breathe, and then you can kind of look to see what comes up and kind of prioritize those needs as you feel works best for you. You need to also remind yourself and give yourself permission to take it one step at a time. As you do go back. And to prioritize your tasks, make sure you break down your workload into really manageable chunks so that you feel less overwhelmed and more in control. I know that you're probably thinking, I have all these things to do, but you know what? There's always going to be more work, but there's not always going to be more time. So just prioritize the highest needs and make sure that you're getting that done. It's okay if you don't get it all done in one day, and I don't know if you needed to hear that or not, but it's okay not to do all the things. So just prioritize and just really get done what you need to get done. Another really effective strategy is to reconnect with your colleagues, reach out to them, share your experiences from the break, and listen to theirs. Sometimes just knowing that you're not alone and feeling a bit reluctant to return to work can be comforting. And collaborating with your fellow counselors can also provide some fresh perspectives and ideas to help you navigate any challenges that might arise. If you do work with another counselor, it could also be really good to let them know how you're feeling because they might be energized. And maybe you're the one saying, I'm not really feeling it so much, and you can kind of bounce off each other and balance each other off. And so having a good colleague is really important, and being able to collaborate and share and commiserate with them is really important. One other thing if you're working with your colleagues is to maybe plan for something with them that you think might bring joy. Because if you are working on a project that you get excited about, you're going to be more excited to be at work. So try to find something that's going to bring joy and spark a little bit of energy. The last thing to remember is to really take care of yourself because self care is crucial. And I know we don't like the word self care, but we really have to prioritize ourselves. And if you are really running ragged over break, make sure you take some time for yourself. Take care of your own well being so that you're better equipped to support others. Go for a walk. Read a book. Practice a little mindfulness. Spend time with your loved ones. Maybe spend time without your loved ones. Whatever you do, take some time for yourself because that and clear your mind. Put yourself in the energy that is going to make you feel good. You have to surround yourself with that energy sometimes. So as we wrap up today's episode, I really want to remind you that it's normal to have all these mixed feelings about returning to work after a break. Make sure you acknowledge those feelings, but also remember the impact you have as a school counselor. Set realistic expectations, reconnect with your colleagues, and prioritize your self care. You've got this, my friends. Anyway, thank you for tuning in to this episode of Counselor Chat. I hope you found it helpful and encouraging. Remember, you are making a difference in the lives of your students every day. And as a thank you for listening, I am going to include in the show notes an energy inventory. Because I think as we head into the new year, it's important to figure out what things steal our energy and what things give us energy. And I think knowing that can also be helpful into putting us into a space where we feel good about not only being ourselves, but in helping others. So I'm going to share this in the show notes with you. I hope you take a look at it. I hope you try it out, and I want to know how you feel or what you learned after doing it. So if you can, send me an email at carol@counselingsentials.org or get in touch with me on Facebook or Instagram at counseling essentials. Anyway, friends, until next week, I hope you have a great week. And until we chat again, have a great week.

Carol: Thanks for listening to today's episode of Counselor chat. All of the links I talked about can be found in the show notes and at counseling ascent Forward slash podcast.

Carol: Be sure to hit, follow, or subscribe.

Carol: On your favorite podcast player. And if you would be so kind.

Carol: To leave a review, I'd really appreciate it.

Carol: Want to connect? Send me a DM on Facebook or Instagram at counseling essentials. Until next time. Can't wait till we chat. Bye for now.