Think about how your life will be when you return to work. Be realistic. If you have been off work for a while you will likely have a period of adjustment - typically two weeks to a month. Everyone deals with the transition back to work differently, but here are a few things to think about and/or to prepare for:
- You may have some physical discomfort. Talk with your doctor about taking an over the counter anti-inflammatory around the clock for your first two weeks. Even if you do this, you may have some discomfort as you will be doing things that are different than you are used to doing. This is normal.
- You may find that you feel more "stressed." This is because you are not used to juggling a job with other responsibilities. You may also really want to do well and/or fear you may not be able to "cut it." Put any fears aside and make sure to develop a routine that makes sense BEFORE you go back to work.
- You may find that your family and friends are reacting to you or behaving differently. Just as an injury impacts your entire life, so does return to work! Cut yourself and those around you some slack. Your children may act out because they miss you and are not used to going to a babysitter. Your spouse may feel neglected or lonely. Open communication will help alleviate some of these issues.
- You may overcompensate in the workplace, either physically or in terms of activity to "prove yourself." Don't give in to the temptation to do this. All new employees require a learning curve and no matter the position, no one expects you to sprint the entire marathon. Take your time to learn your job, get to know the people and the culture and how you fit in.