The Anxiety of Going Back to Work & How to Deal With It
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The Anxiety of Going Back to Work & How to Deal With It

|May 25, 2021

We’ve all gotten pretty good at remaining at home these last few months, so much so that going back to work after guarantee can cause us some anxiety. Going back to work with anxiety is something that we all have to deal with, and for some people, the worry can be much worse than others. Just know that being nervous about going back to work is normal, and it makes us human.

As restrictions begin to fall away and we are increasingly told it’s safe to go back to normal life, a lot of people are anxious or uncertain. Some still prefer to wear masks as regulations are still unclear, and many more are on the fence about getting vaccinated which further hinders the ability of society as a whole to transition to a new normal. 

There’s no guarantee things will ever be the same as they were before, with many of us having experienced unprecedented challenges in the last year, and many of us have lost loved ones. It’s understandable, then, that many of us are feeling anxiety about returning to work and going back to a traditional office working environment. In addition, the pandemic is still raging in other parts of the world, leading to further uncertainty as to the safety of the future.  

The Anxiety Comes From Change


No matter where you are working, your workplace should have changed. You might be working from home, only doing deliveries and being contactless, or even coming to an office that is filled with partitions and bottles of hand sanitizer. No matter how all of that change looks, it is going to happen, and it can keep you nervous.

The change of the workplace, as well as the struggle to adapt to the new normal, can elevate your heart rate and cause some stress. Now that you know where the anxiety about returning to work comes from, one of the best things that you can do is to try to counter it with other things.

Focus On What You Can Control

One of the best things that you can do to improve your overall anxiety is to focus on what you can control. We are spending so much time thinking about Covid and all that it entails, that we’ve forgotten the fact that it can’t be controlled. No matter what we do, we can’t control the coronavirus or the actions of other people.

Embrace this truth and you can remove a lot of your anxiety about returning to work. Focus on yourself and your ways to prevent problems that can make you go back to work with anxiety. For example, if you are worried about Covid, then wear your face mask for Covid-19, social distance, and keep yourself clean. You might not be able to control what other people do, but you can control how you protect yourself.

Pros and Cons of Focusing on Yourself


●  You are completely focused on you

●  Take action on the things you can control


●  It takes practice to get to this level of focus

How To Stop Stress at Work

To help to reduce work stress and avoid going back to work with anxiety, you can take advantage of various spots in your workday to take a few moments for yourself. For example, you can practice meditation at desk whenever you start to feel a little overwhelmed. Meditation is a practice that can help calm your mind and body, and while it might seem like a tough act to get into, there are plenty of apps and YouTube videos that can get you into a guided meditation.

The short, guided meditation videos are around 10-15 minutes, with soothing voices that help to guide you into a calm state, and they tell you exactly what to do when you start to meditate. It’s a perfect way for beginners to get started. Find a voice that you like, make sure the music in the background isn’t too loud, and get yourself into a calm state.

There are also meditations for different types of scenarios or problems that can occur during the workplace. These include resolving conflict in the workplace, dealing with stress, and handling energy fluctuations. If you find yourself needing meditation for a specific scenario, then this can help prepare you to deal with it. 

You can also take your lunch break to step away from your computer and destress during lunch break as well. Taking lunch in front of a screen is one of the most harmful things you can do for your health, so step away for lunch and ignore work for the time being. Go for a walk and get some sun, talk with your friends, stretch and get some exercise. Do various other activities to recenter yourself, and you’ll be ready to take on the second half of the day.

Use Ergonomics

It’s very difficult to overcome internal stress and deal with going back to work with anxiety when your external environment is so uncomfortable. This can certainly add to your going back to work depression, but ergonomics is designed to focus on your comfort and productivity. Having an ergonomic office chair can be a massive boon to both your posture and your productivity level.

An ergonomic standing desk is also one of the things that can help reduce your workplace stress, especially since you are focusing on standing up and completing your work rather than worrying about any external force that is threatening you. If you are dealing with some going back to work depression, then having a standing desk can get your mind going on something else.

Talk to Someone

Finally, the easiest way to overcome the fear of going back to work with anxiety and depression related to Covid-19 and related threats is to talk to someone else. Whether that is the therapist inside of your office or someone else who you trust to be a little vulnerable with, talking about your anxieties and insecurities is often enough to remove their power over you.

Make sure to share everything and really open up with your partner, because that open communication is going to prevent your anxiety from rearing up whenever you are in situations that require it.

Have a Hybrid work plan

Having a hybrid work plan means having a clear structure and set of policies for employees who work a mixture of on-premises and at home, as well as those who travel or work from far away. In addition, it’s important to have a transition plan for employees.

Many who have worked remotely might feel overwhelmed or exhausted by coming back to the office, so it’s important to gradually transition back into this routine with a clear step-by-step process. This could mean gradually phasing in employees based on their importance, or gradually increasing the number of days per week that employees are expected to work in the office.

Know You Are Not Alone

Finally, the last thing that you should understand about the anxiety and going back to work depression shows that you are not alone. Everyone is dealing with the anxieties of a Covid-19 world, so everyone should understand if you need some help dealing with all of these problems. Don’t be afraid to reach out and talk to people, and you can overcome the anxiety together. Raise concerns with your managers and bosses to find solutions, and if you can, present your managers or HR department with new solutions or case studies that support your concerns and ideas.

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