Your return to work is fast approaching and, let’s be honest, it’s probably a time of mixed emotions. You are looking forward to the intellectual stimulation that working gives you; but then there’s the nervousness about returning to work after being out of the workforce for a while. If you are feeling a bit nervous and in need of a confidence boost, you are not alone. Many mamas experience this, and the good news is that you can do something about it so that you approach your return to work with a confident mindset.
Here are some of my tips to get your confidence back on track, to support your return to work:
It’s like riding a bike
You need to remind yourself that you haven’t unlearned all your fabulous skills and knowledge that made you talented at your work. Yes, they may have temporarily been buried under the “mummy fog” while you’ve recently been focusing on motherhood; but when you are back at work, have faith in yourself that the fog will clear and your skills and knowledge will quickly resurface.
Have a go at writing a list of all your past work achievements, and the skills you have that were needed to accomplish these. Pin it up somewhere visible so you can read it as a reminder that you have many valuable attributes.
The new and improved version of you
You may not realise it, but while becoming a mother you have developed a whole new set of life skills which are very transferrable to the workplace. Just think about it; at home you are an expert at juggling multiple tasks simultaneously, prioritisation, problem solving when facing new situations, showing resilience, demonstrating patience and empathy, etc, etc! All of these skills are very valuable attributes in any workplace and will help you flourish when you are back at work.
Also, think about the journey and all the learnings you have acquired while you have been on leave – it’s been a phenomenal learning curve, hasn’t it? If your nervousness about returning to work is associated with thoughts of not being up to speed with the latest technologies/processes/whatever, just remind yourself of the steep learning curve you’ve recently been on as a parent and how you survived (and even thrived!) – so, surely you can conquer whatever comes your way at work too!
Visualise your success
Visualisation is a really powerful tool to overcome nerves. Take a few minutes of quiet time for yourself, close your eyes and visualise yourself back at work and being successful. What does it look like? What are you doing? What are you saying? How are you feeling? Keep doing this regularly, and soon enough you will be able to see such a clear picture of you being successful, that those nerves and negative thoughts will diminish.
Confident body language
Our body language can have a huge impact on how we feel. A positive body will help us to feel more positive.
As a quick fix in moments of wavering confidence, move around and change the way you are standing or sitting. Did you know that when you change your physiology, you change your thinking?
Other body language tips for greater confidence include: standing (or sitting) tall, walking briskly, making eye contact when speaking with people, speaking clearly, holding your hand away from your mouth when speaking, and not fidgeting (or biting your nails!).
Get back in the game – slowly
If you haven’t made use of any Keeping in Touch days during your leave, why don’t you give yourself a confidence boost before you officially return to work by becoming familiar with the environment again. Perhaps, attend some team meetings (maybe virtually dialling in if that’s possible and easier?) or visit the office to meet with your manager and colleagues so you start to get in the groove.
Or, ease yourself back into work by returning one day a week initially, to help you get into the swing of things, and then increase your hours.
Just do it
My final tip is to remember that confidence comes once you take action – people aren’t naturally born with confidence. If you are waiting for confidence to arrive before you feel as though you can do something, you will never start! Don’t “wait” to be confident, just do it and confidence will follow.
You’ve got this, mamas. Get out there and shine!
Olivia Rowan, Founder of OLR Coaching. OLR Coaching loves helping people to live their best lives. OLR supports people to get clarity on their self-identity, to determine what is really important to them and set powerful goals that are aligned with their life vision, to make career changes; and assists with self-management strategies such as time management, reducing their stress and habit busting. They work with people through personal coaching and workshops. Connect with OLR on their website, Facebook and Instagram page.