Returning to the office: How to manage anxiety
Restrictions are beginning to ease and more businesses are opening. Many people will return to their places of work in the coming months. If you’ve been working from home , going back to the office can seem like a big change. Here are some ways to control anxiety about going back to work.
- return to work
- Changes in your workplace
- Take care of yourself
- Seek help for anxiety
return to work
Returning to the office after an extended period of time can make you feel anxious for many reasons. You can feel:
Concern about the risk of COVID-19 ( coronavirus ):
- Uncomfortable being surrounded by many people.
- Doubtful because of the changes in the workspace.
- Nervous about doing your job again.
Remember the positives of going back to work:
- See co-workers again.
- Separate home life and workplace.
- Get back into a routine you lost.
Talk to your boss about any specific concerns you have and how they can help you. There may be opportunities to improve aspects of work that you are not satisfied with. Or sign up for a course or training to brush up on certain skills. The most important thing is to be kind to yourself and take things slowly. It is unrealistic to expect things to feel “normal” on the first day.
Changes in your workplace
Learn about the changes they are implementing to make your workplace COVID-19 safe before you return. These may include:
- Additional facilities for hand washing.
- Use of screens or barriers and other measures to reduce contact between people.
Knowing these measurements will give you a clearer idea of what to expect. Hopefully, they will help ease any fears you may have regarding COVID-19. Talk to your boss as needed. Now is the time to ask yourself if you want to make changes to your work hours or practices. For example, work flexible hours to avoid rush hours on public transport, or work more from home if possible.
Take care of yourself
Taking time to take care of your own well-being can really help alleviate anxious feelings. Try to set aside some time each day for activities that can help you rest or relax. These may include:
- Practice meditation and breathing techniques (there are applications that can help you).
- Do something that you find relaxing, like reading, listening to music, or taking a bath.
- Do some light exercise , such as going for a walk or trying a yoga or pilates session.
Many of us have picked up bad habits during lockdown. This may include being less active, drinking more alcohol, or having a poor sleep routine. Getting back into a good daily routine before returning to work can also help you feel better, both physically and mentally. This includes:
- Stay active, including taking a short walk on a break, or incorporating walking or biking into your daily commute.
- Get a good night’s sleep.
- Eat a balanced diet with regular meals and snacks.
- Stay hydrated.
- Limit alcohol and caffeine intake.
Seek help for anxiety
If you feel like you need more support, ask about mental health services your company may offer, such as employee assistance programs or support lines.
If you think your anxiety is becoming a problem, ask your doctor or health professionals for help.
This information was published by Bupa’s health information team, and is based on authoritative sources of medical evidence. It has been reviewed by Bupa doctors. This content is presented for general information purposes only and does not replace the need for personal consultation with a qualified health professional.