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Returning to Work After a Long Illness? Try These Tips.

“Courage is not having the strength to go on; it is going on when you don’t have the strength.” -Theodore Roosevelt

Being absent from work due to illness, for a period usually longer than 2 weeks, may require that you return to work systematically.  Long term illnesses can impact your mind and body, causing you to feel anxious, tired & Rusty. To transition back to work-mode, here are few tips to make your return as seamless as possible .

Speak to your HR

When you need to take sick leave, it’s imperative that you notify human resources by mail or by Telephone. It is equally important to inform your HR of your return date. Sending a quick mail and copying your direct manager is the usual norm; however, call the HR personal directly for quicker approvals.  Informing your HR is important because it keeps the company informed of your whereabouts and helps the company to plan and readjust their plans accordingly.

Get a Hospital Report

A Hospital report serves as a doctor’s statement to your company, affirming your fitness to work. In cases, where you are off work for more than 7days, organizations may require that you present a fit note from the hospital stating that you are well enough to function at work.  

The Phased Return   

A phased Return may entail that you resume, but don’t work for the same amount of hours that you used too until you are completely fit to do so.  For instance, if you worked for 15hours before, a phased approach will require that you work for just 7 hours until you become strong enough. As part of its benefits, the phased approach will improve your mental health. It will also help you regain confidence in your abilities.

Practice Stress Management

To recover quickly, it is essential that you manage stress and its triggers properly. Do not engage in any stressful activities. Take regular breaks. Drink lots of water and engage in light exercises. I also recommend meditation as a useful tool for relieving stress. When I had to resume work after an illness late last year, I came to work with some of my favorite movies & during breaks I will sit around and watch as time allows. It helped me to relax and kept my mind rejuvenated.

Ask for help

Your long absence from work will make you rusty and asking for help could help you re-learn quickly. It is also important to request help because it decreases stress levels.  Asking for help will not make you look weak, but will help create a connection and compel co-operation within the team.

Speak positive words & take control of the mind

Speaking positively will help you power through your first weeks and keep you pushing through psychologically. It will serve as a form of self-encouragement. It is normal to sometimes have a feeling of self-doubt after a long illness. In fact, most people struggle with a feeling of fear; they ask questions such as Who am I now? Can I cope with the workload? what If something goes wrong, again? But it is important to think positive thoughts and speak positive words as this could have a positive effect over the mind.

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