Managing Anxiety When Returning to Work
We can all agree that our lives look a lot different than they did a year ago. Gradually, we are happy to resume our normal activities. But many of us still have a sense of anxiety especially when it comes to returning to work – especially if we are returning to a physical office space.
Over the last year and a half, many of us have had much more flexibility when it comes to work than we have in the past. We’ve gotten used to working remotely and on our own terms.
You might be asking yourself, how are you going to return to work and maintain your mental health? One way to is to set boundaries to help you remain calm, positive, and productive when returning to work.
Think about what you really want and need
Take the time to pinpoint what it is that will help you maintain positive mental health at work.
Do you want to work remotely part-time? Do you need to cut back on meetings in order to be more productive? What would your “best day” look like? Clearly articulating your specific needs will help you feel secure and confident going into a meeting with your manager or HR representative. having trouble collecting your thoughts? Making a list or writing in a journal can help you sort out what you really want and need.
Be clear about your needs
Over the last year, most people have faced some form of anxiety or depression. But, it still may be hard to talk about anxiety your anxiety with your employer. However, it is more important than ever to share information about your health and what you need to stay in a positive mental place.
For example, if you have a regular therapy appointment that requires you to leave work early some days, tell your manager or HR representative. It is ok to say something like, “I’m trying to stay well and make sure I’m able to do my job. Therapy helps me to do that.” Work with your employer to accommodate your schedule.
Or, if the idea of coming back to work causes you extreme anxiety think about asking to work remotely for a little longer. Be sure you let your manager know that you like your work, but you need a little extra time to make the transition back to working in the office. It is also a good idea to set a firm and realistic time regarding when you’d feel comfortable working from the office again.
Be positive and proactive
There is no denying that you’ll have to talk with your manager about your needs. Coming to the conversation with solutions rather than complaints will go a long way. For example, you can talk with your manager about your productivity over the last year while you worked remotely and how having a great work-life balance impacted your work in a positive way.
Chances are you know someone who is going through the same thing. Get together and buddy up. You can support each other throughout the re-entry process. It’s always better to go through something together instead of facing it alone.
Help is available if you need it. If you are finding it difficult to set boundaries or talk to your manager, don’t be afraid to reach out to a mental health professional at Clay Behavioral Health Care.