Dealing With Return To Work Dread

12th June 2020

Clare Ward

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The UK lockdown has truly opened our eyes to a new commute-free life, where working from home is the norm and the thought of returning to our old ways is striking an element of anxiety into many brits. 
Post-lockdown anxiety is fast becoming an issue for many. The dread of the early morning school run and the commute to a busy city centre, then having to juggle social events and after-school commitments after a gruelling 40 hour working week. No wonder people are dreading the return to work. However, we have some tips on how you can identify if you are suffering from post-lockdown anxiety and how you can reduce the stress.
Firstly, let’s identify if you are suffering from post-lockdown anxiety. Here are some of the symptoms:
// Difficulty sleeping
// Feeling tired or irritable
// Difficulty concentrating
// Feeling worried about your future
// Sweating
// Shortness of breath
// Stomach cramps
// Heart palpitations
Overthinking and worrying are the textbook signs of anxiety, which can then lead to more prominent symptoms such as headaches, dizziness and stomach aches. However, these feelings of anxiety are just a natural and direct response to any situations where you feel uncertain and you are not in control. There are many reasons that may have cause this anxiety, such as worries about actually contracting Coronavirus, money worries or worries about the safety of your job as many businesses across the country are forced to close their doors. 
Anxiety often occurs when situations become out of our control and we try to assess how much harm this situation can cause us, and we plan to solve the problem even though it is out of our control. The coronavirus pandemic and the lockdown is surreal, something we would never have imagined. Sometimes it feels like we’re in the middle of a film. So it’s important to take a step back and remember that these feelings are direct and normal responses to these uncertainties. 
The lockdown has been put in place to protect ourselves and others from contracting the virus, so when people do eventually begin to leave their homes, there may be feelings of anxiety as you’re leaving your safety bubble. When returning to work it’s important that you speak to your manager about your concerns. Talking about your thoughts can have a hugely positive impact on your mental health. 
How to cope with post-lockdown anxiety:
// Break up your day with goals. Give them a time frame and make sure that they’re manageable.
// Be present. Don’t be worrying about what you have/haven’t done or what you need to do tomorrow. Focus on what is at hand right now. 
// Accept your situation. Accept what is happening in the world and take each day as it comes.
// Limit your news consumption, the news isn’t pretty at the moment. 
// Exercise. Even a walk would suffice, just getting active will have a quick impact on your mood. 
// Avoid consuming caffeine & limit your alcohol consumption.
// Perspective. Look at the bigger picture and remind yourself that you can be reunited with friends and family soon. Try and get them all on a video call in the mean time. 
The lockdown has been long and difficult but it’s important to always keep your mental wellbeing at the top of your list of priorities. If you’re struggling with the thought of returning to work and you think the time has come to start looking for new opportunities, contact our friendly team for a chat. SP// 
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