How to tackle the stress of returning to work amid COVID-19 pandemic

How To Tackle The Stress Of Returning To Work Amid Covid 19 Pandemic 04

The COVID-19 pandemic has left each one of us facing unprecedented times. With no physical contact with outside world, working from home and under lockdown, the human mind and body are highly susceptible to stress, anxiety – both physically and mentally. 

As the countries are gradually lifting lockdown in an attempt to transcend towards normalcy, workplaces are too deemed to be operational, though in a staggering manner. As the people return to workplaces after over more than two months of working from home, a new round of physical and mental health challenges are in high probability. 

The uncertainty and unpredictability of the days ahead can have its toll on the mental health with amount of stress and anxiety it bears. The long period of lockdown is directly proportional to the amount of stress and fear people can experience. 

Furthermore, the change in workplace surroundings from home can bear increased challenges as well. Physical and mental health are closely related and depend on one another to great extent. If an employee is feeling safe in the workplace, the stress and fear of unknown is bound to be relieved. 

Coronavirus precautions that workplaces can adopt

Simple acts of precautions which are employed at the workplaces, warranted by WHO and health ministries, can be beneficial and helpful in tackling the workplace anxiety. 

Taking the temperatures of employees on arrival at workplace, compulsory use of face masks at all times, a minimum of 6 feet distance between work stations, regular sanitizing of surfaces in the work area are some of the precautionary steps deemed essential at workplaces. The regular following of these can eventually bring calm in employees with less stress owing to safer feeling. 

Signs and Symptoms of Stress

It is very important to understand and identify stress and anxiety for an early intervention. Some of the common symptoms include:

  • Irritability, anger or denial.
  • Nervous or anxious feeling.
  • Inability to concentrate and lack of motivation.
  • Feeling tired and burned out. 
  • Sad and depressed for no reason. 
  • Troubled sleeping.

Mental health must not be ignored. If feeling anxiety, fear or stress, it is important to accept it and look for help. 

Managing stress and anxiety

Mental health is as important as physical health and maintaining hygiene. Neglecting mental health can have a ripple effect on the well-being of the individual with consequences. 

A trick can be adopted while handwashing – take 20 deep breaths from abdomen while handwashing. Practicing this about 8-9 times at least in a day can help reduce anxiety and blood pressure. 

It is important to take a break from the news cycle that brings fear of unknown most of the times. Furthermore, adopting healthy habits is essential, especially in present scenario when we all are under restricted activities. 

Adopt healthy habits

Partaking in healthy activities and including positive habits into routine are important to tackle the stress and anxiety head on. 

Regular exercise/ walk/ yoga/ simple stretching are highly recommended to get the adrenaline (the happy hormone) pumping. It is also equally essential to have a good nutritive diet with at least 7-8 hours of night sleep. All these collectively lead to good immune system. 

Returning to work – what to do?

When returning to work, it is crucial to be well aware and informed about the safety measures and precautions being taken at your workplace. Talk to the employer or manager to know the details. It is important to speak up if you feel anything is amiss, for the sake of safety of yourself and your co-workers. 

Managing stress at this time is as important as ever. Having a sense of control keeps the mind at ease and less anxious. Following a routine, probably the one pre-lockdown can help get things in motion smoothly. 

  • Proper sleep schedule is important.
  • Practice mindfulness techniques. 
  • Stress reducing apps can help in meditating at your work station. 
  • Take short breaks for stretching, a short walk, or chat with a positive co-worker over coffee break.
  • Chalk out a plan for yourself and the family incorporating productive activities. 

Coronavirus precautions while at work

The most important tips to be followed while at work for minimizing probable infection spread and maintain hygiene cycle include – 

  • Washing hands for at least 30-40 seconds as frequently as possible (ideally every hour).
  • Regularly sanitizing hands with more than 65% alcohol based hand sanitizer. 
  • Maintaining safe 6 feet distance. 
  • Use of masks at all times. 
  • Disinfect the surroundings with sanitized wipes.
  • Stay at home if you are sick.
  • Seek help if you need to. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has put us all in the same situation where it is important to stand together and help each other. Maintaining calm and tackling anxiety and fear while returning to normalcy should be the endeavor of everyone.