Part 2: Workplace Stress: How To Stay Well As We Move Back Into Our Communities
I suspect many of you reading this are more stressed out about moving back into your communities than when we were sequestered home with our families. I know I am. My anxiety is pretty high right now. As a mental health therapist, I have a toolbox of coping skills and still find myself time traveling to the past and into the future.
As we’ve mentioned in other posts, you are not alone. We all fall in and out of mental wellness when faced with stressful life events. We get knocked down. Most of us recover and adapt back to our average level of functioning. Unfortunately for us, this pandemic is not just one traumatic life event but rather several major losses all at once. Many of us have not adapted back to our baseline level of functioning in many areas of our lives. Then comes moving back into community in a strategic and respectful way.
The first community is my shared workspace. What should we know, and how do we manage our fears when encountering other people who have a different worldview?
Here a few tips from the trail for maintaining your physical wellness:
- Know your workplace rights. Please talk with your employer or owner of your office space regarding their guidelines.
- Wear proper PPE for your job. Carry a mask in your car, computer case, purse/backpack. Trust your beliefs and follow public health policies. Even if you don’t believe face masks are necessary, consider those around you and what their risk level may be. Be courteous, be aware, and choose what works for your situation.
- Keep hand sanitizer and wipes at your desk station so you can clean all your workstation tools before you start work.
- Make sure your work area is at least 6 ft away from others and, if not, ask your boss/employer to accommodate new work stations. Work from home whenever you can to minimize the risk of illness.
Here a few more tips for maintaining your mental wellness:
- Trust yourself and what you believe regarding your and your family’s safety. Avoid focusing on how other folks choose to move forward. When you find yourself angered by others’ behaviors, STOPP (see our post for details on how to practice this coping skill) and attend to what’s in front of you. Return to the present moment.
- Practice two-minute transition meditations. Just as it states, when you move from one task or meeting or activity to the next, pause for 2 minutes. Ground your feet and breathe. If you are familiar with the process of meditation, set you timer and practice these short, calming breaks throughout your day. Learn more about mindfulness meditation and the many benefits of regular practice here.
- Compartmentalize your workday. Set ground rules around your texting and social media perusing during your workday. In the old days, we went to work and didn’t bring our emotional issues with us. With 24/7 phone access, many of us are emotional texting all through the day. Set up a plan with your loved ones to send a kiss emoji midday for a quick check-in. Then, turn your phone on silence. We were not meant to be working on emotional issues all day long. It’s exhausting.
Check back for more help with maintaining your mental wellness as we move into summer. Peace and good health to you and yours, Allison