6 tips for returning to work after parental leave

The first few days and weeks back to work after parental leave can be daunting. You can feel as though you are on an emotional rollercoaster. You may be feeling excited to be reunited with your colleagues, looking forward to having time to focus on your career and relishing the idea of using your brain. Or you may be feeling daunted about leaving your child, feeling guilty and anxious about how you will manage juggling work and being a parent.

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I totally get it – I've been there. Here are some tips to help you ease back into work:

1. Mentally prepare to go back to work

Listen to work/industry-related podcasts in the weeks leading up to your return. Reactivate the dormant work part of your brain before returning and bring yourself up to date on any industry-related news you may have missed. This will help you to switch from 'kid mode' to career mode.

2. Emotionally prepare to go back to work

If you have any negative feelings or emotions around returning to work, write these down and acknowledge them. Then make a list of all the reasons you want to go back and all the benefits of returning to work for you and your family. Focusing on the positives will help to put you in a good frame of mind for your transition back to work.

3. Be gentle with yourself

Initially, you may not feel as sharp or as 'on it' as you once did. This could be due to sleep deprivation or your brain needing some adjustment to switch from kid mode to career mode. Baby brain is a real thing. But please, do not get down on yourself. You will get there, and your experience is still valid. Give yourself time.

4. Be honest

Don't feel forced to tell your coworkers you're fine if you're not feeling great. Let them know how you feel. You might need some time to adjust and it's important that they know that. Also, it's important to be honest with yourself. Don't try to act like you haven't been away on leave – if you need a refresher on what's been going on, just ask! It's totally fine to ask for help.

5. Seek support

This could be someone at work who has also transitioned back after parental leave, or it could be an external coach who can support you with the transition. Sharing your experiences can help you to realise that you are not alone. If you need some coaching support, I can help you transition back to work.

6. Treat yourself

Celebrate your first weeks back to work after parental leave with some indulgence and self-care. Make some time to stop off for coffee or treat yourself to a special lunch. Buy yourself something new to wear or book in a visit to the hairdresser. You deserve it.


If you need further support, drop me a message and we can chat about how coaching could support you through this transitional phase.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Life Coach Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP18
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Written by Victoria Hoey, Bsc. Psychology, NLP | Confidence, Career and Change
Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP18

Victoria Hoey
Life Coach. Career Coach.

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