Returning to work after lockdown

Returning to work

Now that restrictions for COVID-19 are being lifted, many people are now returning to the workplace after a long period of time spent working at home. This can understandably make us feel anxious for all sorts of reasons. For example you might be feeling:

  • worried about catching coronavirus (even if you’ve been double jabbed) and the possible risk to vulnerable family members
  • anxious about mixing with lots of people again
  • unsure about possible changes in your workplace
  • nervous about doing your job again after so long away

However, it’s important to remind yourself of the positives aspects of returning to work, including:

  • being able to see colleagues again – positive interactions
  • gaining a sense of achievement from your work – positive thoughts
  • getting involved in your work and being able to do something useful – positive actions

If you’re familiar with Solution Focused Hypnotherapy sessions, you’ll recognise what we call ‘the 3 Ps’ (positive interactions, positive thoughts and positive actions) which we know help to create serotonin in our brains which in turns helps us to feel positive and motivated.

If you have any specific concerns about returning to work, remember to talk to your line manager and find out how they might be able to support you. It could be that there are opportunities to change aspects of your job that you’re not happy with for the better. Or you may be able to book in some training to brush up on certain skills. The most important thing is to be kind to yourself and take things slowly. It’s unrealistic to expect things to feel ‘normal’ on day one.

Looking after yourself

Making time to look after your own wellbeing can really help ease feelings of anxiety. Try to set aside some time each day for activities that can help you unwind and relax which might include more examples of our 3 Ps eg:

  • Positive thoughts – meditation, mindfulness, affirmations, watching uplifting films or comedy programmes which make you laugh!
  • Positive actions – going for a walk, yoga, gardening, reading, listening to music or taking a scented bath
  • Positive interactions – making time to spend with family and friends either in person or online

Getting back into a good daily routine can also help with the return to work as this can help you to feel better both mentally and physically including:

  • eating well – remember to try to eat regularly as many different coloured fruit and vegetables as you can
  • staying hydrated – make a habit of keeping a bottle or glass of water nearby
  • limiting your alcohol and caffeine intake
  • keeping active – it doesn’t have to be going to the gym, just a gentle walk is a start
  • having a good night’s sleep – stick to a regular bedtime and try not to resort to sleeping tablets or alcohol as these can interfere with your restorative REM sleep