For all those people who have settled into their work from home routines since the lockdown measures were first introduced over a year ago, navigating a return to the office is no mean feat.
BBC News reports that there may never be a full-time return to the office and that many firms are implementing hybrid and flexible work policies. But it will mean that some remote workers will have to go back to the office at some point, even if only for a day or two a week.
It’s only natural to feel apprehensive about going back to the office after a pandemic after so long away, whether it’s the idea of packed commuter trains, finding yourself in a meeting room full of people, or just the idea of Janice from accounts heating fish in the communal microwave again.
If you’re feeling anxious, then we have some tips to help you manage.
If you’re feeling anxious, then it’s important to talk to your line manager and/or colleagues and share how you’re feeling. Likely, you won’t be alone in how you feel. There’s no need to feel ashamed or embarrassed about it.
If it’s your commute that concerns you, ask if you can work flexible hours so you can plan your travel around peak times and avoid the crush, or spend more time working from home if possible.
You have probably slipped out of your regular working schedule and sleep patterns, so make sure you give yourself plenty of time to adapt to returning. A good routine can help reduce feelings of anxiety. Start by going to bed earlier and getting up at a similar time as you would if going into the office.
Remember to be kind to yourself. It can be easy to dismiss the idea of self-kindness as something a bit ‘new age’. But taking care of your body and mind is a great way to help reduce anxiety.
Practice mindfulness, take time to get at least 30 minutes of exercise a day and make sure you have some downtime away from work to help calm any feelings of panic you might experience. There are many mental health apps available that can help you manage feelings of anxiety through in-app sessions using a range of different techniques, even simply just breathing.
Getting a good night’s sleep is always beneficial to your well-being. But it can be difficult to drop off if you’re concerned about the next day. Instead of tossing and turning all night, get up, and listen to a podcast or read a book to help you unwind and distract your mind.
Maintaining a balanced diet can make sure your brain is getting all the nutrients it needs. As well as eating enough fruit and vegetables, choose foods that realise energy slowly, such as wholegrain pasta, rice, oats, cereals, or nuts and seeds. Keeping your bloody sugar steady will help reduce feelings of tiredness and irritation.
Drink plenty of water, and avoid caffeine or alcohol if you’re feeling anxious, as these can aggravate any anxiety you’re experiencing.
If you need help with your anxiety and looking for online mindfulness therapy, get in touch today.