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Beating the Back-to-Work Blues

You've got a new baby, and it's time to go back to work. Try these smart strategies to ease the emotional transition:

Talk openly about your fears. Don't try to pretend that you have no worries. Turn to colleagues or other working moms who've returned from maternity leave in the recent past.

Practice. "Use your childcare for a few hours while you're still on leave, and just go to the store or take a walk," says Stephanie Ross, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist in Chicago. "A lot of anxiety about going back is anticipatory, and it's helpful to get used to being away from your child."

Start slow. If you can, begin by working four or five hours, and gradually work up to a full day.

Build your ability to be "in the moment." Try to give all your attention to your job when you're working, or to your baby when you're home. You'll only drain your brain by worrying about your baby at work, or vice versa.

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