The unprecedented situation we faced with a COVID-19 lockdown has presented us with all sorts of challenges as we try to work from home and, in some cases, homeschool our children too. Now, we face another one, trying to get back to a new normal. Anita Douglas offers to some help on how you can make the transition a bit easier.
We have been through so much change over the last few months.
The fear of COVID-19, the uncertainty of lockdown, not seeing our families, not going to our place of work, queuing to enter the supermarket, home schooling, exercise once a day…the list is endless.
So first, let’s start by appreciating how well we have done with this. One big change in most people’s lives can be a challenge but we have been faced with multiple changes over the past few months.
It is good to take a moment to look back and appreciate what you have achieved:
- Like the way you have adapted to working from home?
- Is it the way you have helped and supported your children in their home learning?
- How you have embraced technology to keep in contact with friends, family and work?
- Maybe you have even learnt something new?
Whatever it is, look back and appreciate what you have accomplished.
Often our lives are so fast paced, we focus on looking forward to where we want to go and what we want to do. We forget to take time to reflect and look back at how well we have done already to get to this point.
This reflection should help us think about how we have built our resilience during this time, how we have adapted to new situations, things we would do differently…again the list is endless. But by doing this, you’re adding more tools into your toolbox so when we are faced with change again in the future, we are far more equipped to deal with it.
It’s completely normal to feel anxious about returning to work.
Some of us will be looking forward to returning to work and others will be filled with dread at the thought. We may have even got used to this new way of living and yet again here comes more change.
It’s completely normal to feel anxious about returning to work. Again, it’s the unknown of what this may look and feel like and you are certainly not alone in feeling like this.
YouGov did a survey for the CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development) of 1000 working adults and found 44% reported feeling anxious about the prospect of returning to work.
So, what can you do?
Explore your options
There may be many options open to you such as home working, flexible hours, different locations, so talk to your employer about what is available to you. Many businesses will have learnt a lot about how they run over this period so what may have not been an option before lockdown could be now.
Accept it will be different
Many of us long for things to return to normal, however this may only make your transition harder as very unlikely this will happen. Just because something feels different does not mean it’s wrong…you never know, it may even be better.
Speak to your manager about how you are feeling, what specifically is making you anxious or not look forward to returning to work. Unless they know how you feel, they won’t be able to help.
Be kind to yourself. Understand you may find this next transition tough and it’s perfectly fine to feel that way so don’t beat yourself up. Take time for yourself and to recharge.
Think about what you have learnt over the last couple of months and how could you draw on that to help you in this next step?
Take some time to think about what it is you are worried about, what are the chances of this happening and if it does what’s the worst that can happen and how could you overcome it?
For example, many people worry about others in the office not maintaining a two-meter social distance. The chances of this happening are reasonably high depending on your environment. If it does happen, you can discuss this with the other party to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
When you put this worry into perspective it often isn’t as bad as our mind first made out and, in turn, our anxiety is lowered.
Preparing for this next level of change allows us to focus and understand ourselves a little better, what we may need and how we manage ourselves and our teams.