Returning to Work Post-Lockdown
With furlough coming to an end, many people will be returning to the workplace and transitioning from working remotely post lockdown. Lockdown has affected people in many different ways, so it’s inevitable that there will be feelings of uncertainty surrounding this move back to a new normality.
Owing to the extreme fear and confusion that Covid-19 created, many people have suffered from mental health issues, which is totally understandable. Being kept away from close friends and loved ones, having to adapt to working from home or perhaps not working at all, and worrying about the consequences of catching Covid, is all a huge strain on both our mental and physical wellbeing.
How to stay healthy during the transition
Prior to returning to the workplace, it’s very likely you’re going to have some concerns, which may include:
- How clean and safe is the environment?
- Will people be social distancing?
- Will I be able to concentrate in a busier environment?
- How will I cope with a new routine?
These thoughts are quite normal but if you feel like you’re beginning to get overly concerned and it’s negatively affecting your mental wellbeing, there are things you can put in place to ease the worry and those feelings of anxiety and stress.
- Speak with your line manager and any colleagues who have already returned to work. They should be able to reassure you of all the safety procedures that are in place.
- Think about how going back to work will affect you regarding the commute times and the additional costs of this, and family commitments or responsibilities. If this is a concern, speak to your manager and see how they can help. They might allow for flexible working hours and have a car share or cycle-to-work scheme in place.
- Get yourself into a good daily routine. Go to bed early and get plenty of sleep. Allow plenty of time to prepare yourself before you leave for work and make time for a healthy breakfast. Perhaps you could work out at the gym, go for a swim, or enjoy a morning walk. These types of exercises will boost your mental alertness and energy levels to put you in a more positive mood. A study published by the National Library of Medicineshowed that “participants in randomized clinical trials of physical-activity interventions show better health outcomes, including better general and health-related quality in life, better functional capacity and better mood states.”
- If you start to feel anxious once you’re back at work, try using a few coping methods to help you to stay calm. Practise breathing techniques or take a walk in the outdoors, both of which are great for helping you to relax, quieten the mind and focus.
If you still feel anxious, stressed or even depressed and it’s affecting your mental wellbeing, please seek professional advice.
You might also find these First Psychology resources helpful: