This article was written by - Kelly King, RTT Therapist, Hypnotherapist & Meditation Teacher.
We’ve all been through some really surreal times over the last few months!
The corona virus pandemic and months of lockdown, caused stress and anxiety.
There was so much unknown and people had to be persuaded to stay inside, in isolation. We all talk about how being part of a community and having good connections can help us feel better.
So the whole idea of isolation could the complete opposite, making us feel lonelier.
But even though this was difficult, we somehow managed to pull through.
As time went on, we slowly became used to our new lives in lockdown, and our anxiety began to subside. We may have even started to enjoy the lockdown. The chance to do the things we didn’t normally have time to do.
And a chance to stop and appreciate the simpler things in life.
We settled in to a new normal and routine.
But now, as countries start lifting the lockdown and we plan to return to work, stress and anxiety levels can shoot back up again. And the thought of going back to work might cause some panic.
Just going out and about again feels unfamiliar. There is also worry about whether it’s safe to go back to work. This anxiety is mainly related to uncertainty. The future is unclear right now for some people and this can keep us up at night.
It might trigger excessive and constant worry about the future. And it can even lead to physical symptoms, such as insomnia and heart palpitations.
But there are things we can do to overcome this and below I go through a few ways to ease anxiety going back to work.
Be Conscious Of Media Consumption
There is a lot of catastrophic language being used in the media and on social media.
We hear lots of ‘end of the world’ language. A lot of people talking about how stressed they are to go back to work.
And although it’s important to be up to date and conscious of precautions to take, it’s not helpful to take in excessive amounts of media about the virus.
This can lead to higher levels of stress and anxiety.
Social media can also add to stress. Because there’s such an information overload on there. It has 24 hour action and again, this information overload can lead to feelings of overwhelm. So it’s best to be intentional with how much time we spend consuming media and where we get it from.
For example, you might want to watch a couple of youtube news clips and scroll instagram for an hour during the day.
But then avoid scrolling through instagram all day during your free time.
This way, we can balance time spent online with time spent in real–world activities such as reading a book, exercising or video calling with friends and family.
Identify your feelings of anxiety
It helps to recognize how you react when you’re stressed in order to manage it.
Anxiety is how our body reacts to the threat of danger and can show up physically. Shallow breathing, tightness in the chest, restlessness, an upset stomach, headaches or neck and shoulder pain.
Once you’ve noticed what your unique reaction is, you can practice the special ways to ease your physical symptoms of anxiety.
For example, if you realize you worry at night and have insomnia, this can be making your anxiety worse. So you might want to improve sleep routine or cut out caffeine and alcohol to sleep better. This in turn can improve coping mechanisms during the day.
If you have tense muscles or restlessness, you could practise yoga to stretch your muscles and regulate breathing, when you notice these things happening in your body.
But overall, personal care is not a one size fits all process. It all depends on your own unique reactions and what you enjoy.
It’s important to note, that these methods should be practised consistently over time to make a difference.
Reframe The Situation
When we perceive an event as a threat, our response is to feel 'fearful'.
And so our actions will be defensive, defending ourselves against this threat.
In the case of going back to work, it can result in panic and problems seem harder to overcome.
But if we change our perception of going back to work to perceive it as a 'challenge' rather than a 'threat', it can be easier to get through.
And while challenges can be difficult, they can be overcome.
It’s the same as when we went into lockdown. Our perception might have changed from, ‘I’m stuck at home and it’s awful’ to ‘this isn’t so bad, actually it’s given me some time to just stop’.
Our whole feeling toward the lockdown may have changed just in this switch of our perception of it over time.
So just that simple re-framing of going back to work from a threat to a challenge that we can overcome and even get used to again, can reposition your mindset towards it.
It will put your mindset into offence rather than defense.
I hope these tips help you a little more with the transition and you start to enjoy life back in the workplace.
For more advice on how to deal with Anxiety and Stress Management
and find out more about working with Kelly please head over to her website at https://kellywellnesslife.com/