Feeling nervous about heading back to work? You're not alone.
Phase three marks the opening of a lot of businesses, which may include the office, yes that old thing, it’s making a comeback. Getting used to being in the office again after working from home all this time is going to be a little tricky for everyone, stricter deadlines, commuting, oh, and interaction with other people, stunning.
But, don’t worry if you’re feeling anxious, it’s totally normal. Instead of dreading the return, we’ve put together a checklist of a few things you can do to ease yourself back in and make the transition a little less daunting.
Set alarms the week before
It’s easy to think about lying in everyday as much as you can until your first commuting day, but actually that extra rest will make it harder for you to adjust when it’s back to normal. Setting your alarm for a similar time you’ll be getting up to commute in the days running up to it will help your body clock settle into the new routine and not be as much of a shock to the system.
Keep your exercise routine
Started a daily exercise routine during quarantine? If this has been something you enjoyed don’t let it slip when work is back, try to keep it as part of your daily routine, whether it’s in the morning before you head off or an after work workout, finding a way to stay consistent will prevent a back to work slump.
Bring exciting lunches
If you’re not exactly looking forward to returning to the work environment, something as small as a nice lunch can make a difference to your day. Having that little something to look forward to in the middle of your work day can help the day go faster and keep that little home comfort of your good food with you, work lunches don’t have to be boring.
No shame in being cautious
This might be obvious but it has to be said, buy masks, gloves and hand sanitiser for your return to work! Regardless of whether you’re nervous or excited it’s for everyone’s benefit that you take the correct precautions when commuting to and from work, and if it makes you more comfortable to sanitise your entire desk before starting, go for it!
Let people know you’re feeling nervous in the office, it’ll make the whole experience run smoother if you let people know you’d still rather social distance where possible and that no, you don’t want to receive that welcome back hug, thank you very much. It’s an odd time and people don’t really know how to behave around others, sometimes they probably don’t want to hug you either but just panic and feel like they should go for one, setting out your boundaries makes it less awkward for everyone.
I know, scary to think about breathing in public air. But that is all that will get us through sometimes, deep breaths if we are feeling anxious throughout the day (from behind a mask If you’d rather), if you find yourself getting overwhelmed in a situation take a few minutes to breathe. You can get through it, it’s an adjustment for everyone.
Be kind to yourself
Don’t beat yourself up for not being ready to bounce back into the world we once knew, because the truth is, it’s not there. This is a new world for everyone and not being totally confident in it is completely normal, so don’t forget to reward yourself for the little achievements. First day on the bus feeling less worried? Take a long hot bath watching a
great show. First week back complete? Crack open your fave treat on that Friday evening, balance will help us through.
Know you’re not alone
There is absolutely no way you are the only one in that office feeling the way you do. Yes, everyone will have that person who was buzzing to come back and thinks they are immune to any virus, but most likely a lot of others will be on edge too. You are in no way alone, there is always someone who’ll understand, try to chat to someone about how you’re feeling it’ll ease you when you realise they feel the same.
Get that coffee fix
It can be daunting heading back to cafés after three or four months without them, but if you had a fave coffee shop that brightened your day before lockdown, try get used to popping in again. Coffee shops are taking all the necessary precautions for takeaway coffees, so once you get comfortable popping in to order, this little step will bring some normality and joy to your day.
Try and enjoy it!
It can be hard to think this way but there are actually a lot of benefits to things reopening, soon you’ll be able to go for some after work drinks if you’re comfortable, you can see your work friends again and share your lockdown goss and stories, you’d miss the office lols while being at home! And all this brings us closer to normality, it’ll be tough at first but we will all get there, one day at a time.
Words by STELLAR Intern, Jade Carpenter