Whether your employer is phasing your return to work after months of furlough or working from home, or whether they are just expecting you to go in and resume as you were pre-pandemic, you may be having some doubts, worries or experiencing anxiety around returning. This blog will address why that may be and what you can do about it.
What are the main, specific reasons why people may be anxious about returning to work right now, given COVID-19? There are likely to be two main reasons for people experiencing anxiety around returning to work right now, fear of contracting or passing on the virus (if they're a carrier but a-symptomatic), and adjusting to a new routine, again. While workplaces will be following Government, NHS and WHO guidelines, workers may still experience fears or worries around the effectiveness of these measures in keeping themselves and others safe. These guidelines obviously rely on people's understanding and willingness to cooperate and follow new rules, but unfortunately, there are some people who would not follow guidelines and procedures for various reasons. Depending on the workplace environment, that factor may have more of an impact on some people, especially those who are vulnerable themselves or share a home with someone who is. For many of us, we have been following the advice to distance since before lock-down was announced as a necessary measure to prevent the spread of infection. That has meant people's routines have been affected for over two months at least, and many people will have adjusted somewhat to these changes and now need to re-adjust to change again in a short period of time. For many returning to work currently, due to the distancing measures still in place, it is not as though they are returning to things as they were pre-pandemic, they are still different and all of this change, whether you have handled it well or not, is classed as a stressful situation simply because change like this is so taxing on our brains, nervous systems and emotions.
What are your top tips for people returning to work now?
Thirdly, I would recommend a small reality check just to ensure that the measures you're putting in place are reasonable, effective and not detrimental. This may involve having a couple of conversations with trusted people to ensure you haven't disproportionalised something, because if you have, it can be tricky for us to spot it ourselves.
Lastly, I would focus on ensuring you are clear on your general stress/anxiety management tools, techniques and strategies and schedule time in your diary for self-care. This is important to allow time for your autonomic nervous system (the part that goes online when experiencing anxiety and high stress) to go offline and your parasympathetic nervous system to come online which is engaged when we are relaxed and calm. Whether these are breathing techniques, music playlists, physical movement, creative outlets or meditation, diarise them in to ensure you prioritise them.
Love & Magick,