Part 1: Workplace Stress: How to Stay Well As We Move Back Into Our Communities
What does going back to work look like for you and your family?
Some of us didn’t miss a beat regarding our workdays since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. If you already worked from home or have an essential job that moved to telecommuting, it may not have provoked as much anxiety. However, for many of us, this microscopic virus put all of our lives under a microscope. We got a real, upfront look at our workforce lives behind the closed doors of our home office (or kitchen table).
The ideal worker is a thing of the past. This “best case” employee, once able to work late into the night, attend social events after work, or attend early morning conference calls after a workout is now a false reality. For the past couple of months, our work environment has been confined to the comforts (or possible non-comforts) of our homes. We have become accustomed to working in our pajamas, not showering for days, and always having access to the fridge. For many, quarantine has been a breeze, a time to be spent with the family; but for others, it has not served that purpose. Many are eager to return to work as quarantine has caused financial and relationship strains on them.
Businesses are beginning to reopen and life is starting to resemble what it once did, but we know that reopening too quickly could place the lives of many in danger of COVID-19. So whether you are anxious about getting back to work so you may escape the constant distractions at home or anxious about the health risks of returning to work…you are not alone.
We know this pandemic is not going away, and at the same time, we don’t know what’s going to happen in the next six months. How do we manage our anxiety with such an overwhelming unknown?
Here are a few tips from the trail to get you functioning better on a day to day basis:
- Seek wise counsel – Limit your news input. Many of us need to remain topical and know what’s going on. However, it’s another thing to use media to add fuel to our stress levels. Get your daily dose of information from the CDC or WHO websites and your local state and county health departments. It’s their job to protect us.
- Turn inward – This may come in the form of prayer, meditation, or pondering what you are most grateful for. Many of us don’t take time for self-exploration. Take time with your loved ones and talk about those three existential questions all humans contemplate throughout their lives:
- Who am I?
- Why am I here?
- Where am I going?
- Take action – Each of us has to individually weigh the risks and benefits of re-entering our communities based on our worldview. We all have different levels of anxiety and different vulnerabilities in regards to staying well. It’s not our place to judge how others are choosing to re-enter their communities. Our place is to choose our position based on the situation we are in, and how those choices will affect the lives of ourselves and loved ones. COVID-19 has given many of us the time to get clear about our core values and beliefs.
Lastly, as we have learned since the beginning of this pandemic, there is an importance in maintaining our daily routines. Whether it be as simple as cooking breakfast in the morning or connecting with friends and family in safe ways. We can find joy and a clear mind through laughter, walks in nature, and counting our blessings. Finding normalcy in a world with no clear path may provide ease with our anxiety.