Returning to a Post-Pandemic Office

While life is starting to show some semblance of normalcy, our mental health may take some time to recover. In fact, change, even positive change, is often a source of fear and anxiety. Businesses are opening back up and if you have been working from home for a while, the office might feel like uncharted territory. Understandably so, since returning to the office means jumping back into a social environment you have grown unfamiliar with. It’s natural to feel anxious about this, so don’t feel guilty if that’s the case. Do, however, learn what you can do to manage this anxiety so that the transition is as seamless as possible. That is exactly what I am here to help you with. 

Adjusting to a New Routine 

After spending over a year with the flexibility of working from home, transitioning back to a structured office life might be tough. With any major change, comes the need to adjust to a new schedule. If possible, try to have a gradual transition. Speak with your boss to see what your transition options are. If that is not an option for you, try establishing a routine before your return. On top of maintaining self-care through regular meal, exercise, and sleep schedules, start getting ready for work in the morning as if you were going into the office. This will help you feel more prepared for the added structure you will have once back in the office. Lastly, once you do return to the office, find something to appreciate about your new routine. For example, think of your commute as a time to decompress before and after work. Listen to your favorite songs or audiobooks. Take this time to mentally separate work from home. 

Safety and Social Anxieties 

Being around others in the office may bring forth safety-related anxieties and social anxieties. If safety is a concern, you should fully understand your employer’s Covid-19 safety policy and clearly express to them your expectations. Since you cannot control the actions of others, take your safety into your own hands. You can do this by following precautions that make you feel safer, such as wearing a mask, using hand sanitizer, and social distancing. 

If you have social anxiety or feel like you’ve forgotten how to socialize, you are not alone. Start out small by connecting to individuals or small groups. Over time, you will grow more comfortable interacting with others. It’s important to know what your boundaries are and how to communicate them with your co-workers. We’re all on different comfort levels when it comes to social interaction; that’s the nature of the beast. Do what makes you feel most comfortable without worrying about what others think. 

Coping with Sudden Stress and Anxiety 

Even with all these measures, stress and anxiety may still suddenly arise. In these instances, take a few deep breaths or do a mindfulness exercise. It may also be helpful to have some stress relievers, such as a stress ball, essential oil diffuser, or photos of your loved ones, at your desk for immediate soothing. 

I hope this blog helps you cope with your transition back to the office. If you feel you need additional help, I am here for you both in person and virtually. Contact me today to schedule a HIPAA-compliant appointment. 

SOURCES: 

https://www.verywellmind.com/going-back-to-the-office-after-the-pandemic-5180873

https://vitalrecord.tamhsc.edu/how-to-handle-anxiety-about-returning-to-the-office-after-covid-19/

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