Talking about your concerns
If you’re feeling stressed about returning to work, it might be helpful to talk to your manager. They’ll be able to tell you what your organisation is doing to protect you from coronavirus. This might include:
- providing hand sanitiser and soap
- more regular cleaning of your workspace
- moving desks and workstations two metres apart, or putting up screens
- staggering start times, finish times and when you take your breaks to minimise contact with other people
Reading the policies your workplace has created, as well as the government guidelines, will give you a clearer understanding of what to expect.
More than a third of people are worried about their commute. So if you have to use public transport, speak to your manager about whether you could change your hours to avoid the busiest times.
If you’re still concerned, ask if there’s any additional support available for both your physical and mental health. Some companies and unions have support lines you can contact if you want to speak to somebody outside of your team.
Talking to your colleagues might also help – many of them are probably feeling unsure about returning to work as well.
Looking after yourself
When you’re feeling stressed, it can be easy to forget to take care of yourself. But making time for your own wellbeing can help to reduce your anxious feelings. Try to set aside some time each day for activities that can help you unwind. These might include:
- practising mindfulness and breathing techniques (there are apps that can help you)
- doing something you find relaxing like reading or taking a bath
- spending time with loved ones, if you can do so safely
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to complete lots of work as soon as you return. Take some time to adjust to being back in the workplace if you can. You might find going back to work very tiring. If you’re worried about the amount of work you have to do when you return, making a plan might help you to organise your time.
Many people’s daily routine has changed during the lockdown. If your sleeping pattern has changed or you’re eating differently, try to establish regular mealtimes and bedtimes before going back to work.
Including healthy behaviours into your daily routine can also help you to feel better, both physically and mentally. These include:
Things to look forward to
While it might seem daunting to go back into work, there might also be things that you can look forward to.
- A chance to see colleagues and be more sociable during the working day.
- Working in a dedicated space with the correct equipment.
- Being free from the distractions of being at home.
- Having a clearer boundary between your work and personal time.
If you feel your anxiety is becoming a problem, ask your GP or another health professional for support. There are also some charities that can offer help and advice: