No pressure

Hello 2015. Looks much the same as 2014 ... Hello 2015. Looks much the same as 2014 ...

I’m willing to bet that I wasn’t the only person who was feeling sluggish this morning as many of us returned to work for the first time in 2015.

Being woken up at an ungodly hour by my alarm. (As opposed to being woken up at an ungodly hour by the kids.) Putting on my work clothes again after two weeks of casual-wear. Struggling to remember what all my passwords are – and where I put the to-do list that I’d carefully drawn up before finishing for the holidays. Trying to get my head back in the game.

You know the sort of thing.

It’s only when you stop work for an extended break that you realise how much you need to decompress. And, conversely, it’s only when you go back to work that you realise how much you’ve (hopefully) managed to relax while you’ve stepped off the hamster wheel, taken your nose away from the grindstone and … okay, I’ve run out of clichés.

Christmas hasn’t always been a two-week affair. I used to work up until Christmas Eve, then return immediately after New Year – so typically a week-and-a-bit. It’s only since we’ve fallen into the rhythm of school terms – this was our third year as such – that I’ve started to take two full weeks off.

I love it. It feels more than twice as long as having a week off, if you know what I mean. The final run-up to Christmas is less hurried and stressful. And this year, once my folks had departed on Boxing Day, we still had a weekend and a full week stretching out in front of us with not much planned and no pressure to fill the space with lots of stuff.

We redecorated one of the bedrooms, which the boys will hopefully be moving into this weekend. We went to see the Paddington movie. We stayed over with friends for New Year. We did lots of little stuff together: a trip to Oxford, taking the boys out on their bikes, playing with their presents, watching films.

Actually, looking back, we had quite a busy time of it. However, it never felt busy because we didn’t have the pressure of having to cram it all into a few days.

Sometimes you get to the end of the holiday and it’s been so frenetic that you’re knackered and need another holiday to recover from it. Not this time. I can’t remember the last time I came back to work feeling so relaxed.

Maybe a bit too relaxed, given how difficult it’s been to get back into the swing of things today. But a spot of back-to-work blues is a small price to pay for the last two weeks.