Back to Work Blues: How You can Cope with Anxiety of Being Back in the Office
For over a year, people have been asked to self-isolate at home. Many worked work remotely as a social distancing measure. In 2020, almost 70% of full-time workers went remote. But multiple studies have shown that longer durations of isolation were linked to poor mental health.
With limited movement and interactions, the quarantine period has caused stress and anxiety to many people. But returning to work after quarantine has brought up new mental health concerns.
The Center for Cognitive and Behavior Therapy, which offers dialectical behavior therapy in Westport, shares helpful ways to deal with the stress and anxiety that comes with going back to work.
Workers’ Mental Health After Quarantine
It’s typical for people to experience stress and feelings of uncertainty following a sudden, major life change, whether it’s a personal tragedy or a global pandemic.
With the threat of COVID-19 still around, workers are likely to experience the following on the verge of returning to work:
- Feelings of dread and anxiety
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Difficulty functioning in social situations
One survey found that the risk of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among working Americans is now 83% higher than before the pandemic. Those aged 40-59 have also shown 94% higher risk of general anxiety disorder (GAD). This could mean that a sudden return to the workplace won’t be easy for workers and can significantly impact their mental well-being.
How To Deal With Stress and Anxiety In Returning To Work
Feeling stressed and anxious over returning to work is a normal response after staying at home for a long time. But there are several things you can do to cope better.
Acknowledge Your Anxiety
Hiding your anxious feelings won’t make you feel better. It can only keep you feeling trapped, causing the anxiety to perpetuate. But recognizing anxiety and acknowledging it can help you take steps toward feeling better, even if it’s as simple as taking a deep breath or getting some exercise.
Establish A New Type of Routine
The routines you had during while working from home means you have to unlearn a few things. It might help to slowly transition yourself by establishing new routines for work, such as:
- waking up earlier than usual
- finding something to enjoy on your commute
- taking regular breaks
- making a point to catch up with colleagues
Communicate Your Concerns
Talking to a family or friend may help you deal with anxiety. You can also talk to your supervisor or HR department, many of which now recognize that many employees may have difficulty transitioning back to the office.
Seek Mental Health Support
You don’t have to go through it all alone. If you’re having difficulty coping with stressful events and managing your emotions, it’s best to seek mental health support or teletherapy. While everybody feels stressed and anxious at times, it’s important to recognize when these feelings have become more than a temporary thing.
Don’t hesitate to get help from a mental health professional, especially if feelings of sadness, hopelessness, exhaustion and frustration are:
- Present most of the time
- Persisting for about two weeks or more
- Affecting your daily life negatively
Remember that your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Contact The Center for Cognitive Behavioral Health today. We have experienced and qualified therapists to help you navigate any emotional and behavioral challenges.