The stress of returning to the office: I live it too

Sunday January 3rd. 5:00 p.m.

Sitting on my sofa in my cozy living room, I didn’t want my vacation to end. I would take 1 more week, even 2. And this year, it’s not a question of travel, adventure or exoticism, it’s just real, quality time in my home, in my region, where the purring of work is only a distant memory.

And don’t get me wrong: a vacation is not general confinement. While “Quebec was on hiatus” according to our Prime Minister in the spring, the Iceberg Management team was hard at work to support its clients remotely. Like many other companies, this has even resulted in the growth of our activities, with a reduced workforce! A vacation therefore is not an overload of teleworking at the rate of 10-12 hours per day, to support Quebec companies in crisis or in growth, or to reinvent the delivery of our expertise.

The stress of returning to work

But to think about taking back the reins made me dizzy. The stress of returning to work is mostly on Sunday that I experience it, often even a little earlier. Of course, I put everything into perspective, and I change my thoughts by doing my favorite activities: a walk in nature and in the great outdoors, organizing the house and cooking meals that smells good, “little things” that cheer me up. But I have to deal with the stress when the calm returns, when I just want to relax and read, and my head spins, the clock ticks, my heart gets heavy, and I start brooding thinking about how my vacation is over (forever it seems) …

What’s my trick? It’s all about turning what I see, what I think, into positive thinking.

Nothing new you’ll tell me …

Yes, we know that it’s important to cleanse our thoughts, but are we really doing it, or do we let ourselves get overcome by stress? I can say that on Sunday I did both: I let myself be invaded, but I also cleared my thoughts and that helped me a lot.

Very precious “little things”

I watched my husband religiously prepare for his return on Monday and I was so lucky. My stress had given way to gratitude. I was grateful for not having to enter traffic on time; grateful that I don’t have to de-ice the car, or worry about the road conditions or my fuel level; that I can dress comfortably all week; that I don’t have to prepare lunches, I will have everything I need in the fridge and I can eat whatever I want; grateful, because I will be able to take my emails at my own pace on Monday morning and I don’t have to have read them all before starting my week again …. “little things” that we sometimes take for granted, but that did me a great amount of good when I thought back to my old jobs which would have required all this!

Meaning and support

Above all, I saw my husband happy with his choice of career, passionate about his profession, and I felt incredibly grateful to have a career that I love too, a meaningful and stimulating career, at the height of my expectations. I have a job that gives me the power and the latitude to elevate my career to the highest summit I desire, without barriers, in addition to being surrounded and supported by a fantastic business partner, a terrific team and wonderful clients.

POW!!! It was there. My stress had given way to a big smile, and then I was EXCITED to start again on Monday.

Sunday January 3rd. 5:15 p.m.

What? Wait Julie, you are going strong. (I was talking to myself, amazed at this change of situation)

This is true, I tell you, I am always amazed at the power of positive thinking and gratitude. Seriously. Even for a positive person like me, the results are always surprising.

Not alone, I am

After astonishment comes the desire to share the “good news”. I was thinking of all of you, my team members, clients, strategic partners. I was thinking of each of you individually. I asked some of you how you deal with stress, and I found that many of you go through the same thing. Since I had found some tips to soothe mine, I thought I’d share them with you. In case someone has been through this too, I wanted to “pay it forward” and take a few minutes to inspire you.

I didn’t talk to you in my editorial about slow living or mindfulness meditation. There is letting go, yoga, and pet therapy too, but I chose not to talk about that because the techniques that relieve stress are vast and certainly all relevant. Go without restraint. I practice them myself, I am a believer, and I preach their benefits.

However, these techniques have something in common: you have to be willing to do it. They must be done. Positive psychology is more like a switch in the brain that you have to turn “ON”. If you prefer metaphors, wipe your glasses when they fog up, you will change your outlook about the SAME things you see around you and the thoughts that cross your mind. Nothing to do, no walking, exercise mats, dim lights, reading or directed relaxation; just flip the switch to “ON” when you realize it. No matter what you were doing, you can keep doing it, with this new attitude. You will feel a lot of gratitude.


But whether it is the stress of returning to the hectic pace of work, or the stress of total confinement and the reorganization that follows, the brain sees no difference about the source of our stress. It must be managed so that it does not become overwhelming and disabling. All good things come to an end. It’s the balance. We appreciate what we lose. If we spent our time lounging, letting ourselves be rocked by the wind, we would look for opportunities to feel fulfilled. We would become weary of doing nothing. Just a few days of vacation and already my head was full of plans for 2021. Confined or not, I feel immense gratitude for having had a “rejuvenating” vacation that makes me want to propel myself into 2021 by your side.

I love you all, I send you virtual hugs, and I can’t wait to see you again 💙

In all gratitude,