Now that we have returned to Australia as repats, I must face the daunting realisation that I soon return to full-time employment. After being out of the education game for 3 years, the prospect conjures mixed thoughts feelings ..particularly ‘am i up to this?’
Researching for this post, I found that there is nothing to support expat spouses to make the transition from homemaker/part-time employee to full-time career gal/guy. The only resources I could locate were about returning to work after maternity leave. Not terribly applicable.
Returning to work while adjusting to our new normal will be challenging. We will be grappling with a new lifestyle, routines, relationship pressures, culture shock in addition to transitioning back into work. Maintaining mental health and wellbeing will be key I predict. Below are a few of my thoughts of how to best support myself to make the leap back into the demanding and rewarding world of educational leadership while still grappling with the repatriation process.
Be organised. This includes establishing routines at home including sleep, exercise, household chores and so on. Professionally, meet with your boss and/or immediate colleagues (if possible) to understand your role, their role, future directions for the organisation and glean other relevant information.
Nurture health & wellbeing. Be mindful of your work hours. Working long hours may feel like a sound strategy to get on top of work responsibilities and tasks but this may actually be detrimental to your physical and mental health. Maintaining a balance between work and other priorities will promote productivity. Making time to exercise, catch up with friends or simply read for enjoyment are all ways to relax and recharge.
Say no. Allowing yourself time to settle into life at home as well as full-time work is important. It is okay to say no when asked to accept additional responsibilities or social invitations. This is about knowing your limitations and how best to make a successful repatriation. Talk to friends, family members, colleagues and your boss about how you’re coping and how they can best support you.
Say yes to professional learning. Develop your knowledge of new initiatives and approaches, as well as increasing your self-esteem. Remember that your skill set is not as outdated as you believe and that many of those you have developed while on eave are transferable.
There must be a myriad of effective strategies that I have not yet discovered. How did you manage and sustain your return to work?