28 May 2021
Back to work anxiety

BY: Janine Mitchell

Treatment

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Returning back to work after many months of working from home is going to present with anxieties for many.

It can feel like a big transition and many are anxious for several reasons:

• Mixing with people again, this can feel really unfamiliar
• Being around larger groups of people
• Fears of catching COVID
• Worries and uncertainties about job capabilities
• May feel like you are starting a new job again!
• Uncertainties about change in the work place

There are several positives, which are good to remember!

• Separating work from home life
• Seeing colleagues again and getting involved in more social activities
• Getting back into a good routine

It’s always helpful to talk to your colleagues or your line manager. Sharing anxieties with colleagues, you may discover others feel exactly the same, or can empathise and understand how you are feeling.

It’s really important to be kind to yourself and take one step at a time, rather than rushing or beating yourself up if you’re still not feeling great after day one!

You will also be able to make all the relevant checks with your manager and team to ensure your work place is COVID secure, so this will allay any anxieties!

Most important of all, is to look after yourself and your wellbeing as we transition back into the work place. Many have fallen into bad habits during lockdown, so getting back into a routine will most definitely help and improve any feelings of anxiety.

Looking after you!

Here are ways in which you can get back into a healthy routine, both physically and emotionally and what you can put in place to lower anxiety

Exercise

Ensure you make time for exercise every day. Ideally getting outside so you can get a great intake of vitamin D. Not only does regular exercise naturally increase endorphins, you also naturally feel better about yourself and in a better headspace.

Practice breathing exercises or meditation

When we are in any type of anxiety, we breathe at a much quicker, more shallow rate. Slow down your breathing or practice some breathing exercises. This will actually lower cortisol and it also helps spread crucial oxygen around the body. It will also get you to a place of feeling more calm, rather than in an anxious state.

Regular mediation is amazing for lowering anxiety. There are many apps you can search for and there are lots of guided meditations on YouTube. Even start by doing 5-10 minutes a day can make a huge difference.

Sleep

Ensure you are getting a good nights sleep. Make sure your sleep hygiene is on point. Turn off all devices an hour before bed, avoid any light, perhaps have a read, take a bath or go for a gentle walk before. When you wake in the morning avoid reaching for your phone and checking emails or social media. Instead, practice a short meditation.

Balanced diet

Ensure a good intake of fresh fruit and veg. Avoid processed, fatty foods wherever possible and restrict snacks wherever you can.

Limit alcohol and caffeine intake

Many have got into bad habits during lockdown. Too much alcohol and caffeine can also impact on poor sleep. Not only that, it can lower mood and leave us feeling lethargic and groggy. It is actually likely to increase anxiety. Swap your caffeine for herbal tea and limit alcohol intake as best you can.

Stay hydrated

Drinking plenty of water will not only lower anxiety and clear out unwanted toxins, it will improve your energy levels. Drink a minimum of two litres of water a day. If you are struggling with this, have a water bottle with you that you can fill up regularly throughout the day to ensure you are getting your daily intake!

These are all strategies that will help lower anxiety. Remember, we are very adaptable as human beings, and have much more resilience than we give ourselves credit for in these situations.

Still worried about anxiety?

If you have been experiencing persistent, regular symptoms, to contact your GP or speak with a professional. Seek out a therapist or speak with an organisation such as Anxiety UK, Mind or the Samaritans.

Janine is the founder of Change for Success.

She specialises in transforming mental health and mindset. As well as working with private clients, she works with companies and organisations by helping them improve their performance and productivity by reducing stress in the workplace.

Janine is a published researcher and author, has a Masters’ degrees in Psychology and is a hypnotherapist, NLP and EFT practitioner. She is based in Manchester and works nationwide.

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