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Taking Care of Your Mental Health While Returning to Work

Staying Mentally well is not a spectator sport.

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Saliba Faddoul, writing in Thrive Global, in an April post on Medium, said, “Going home should be a calming time.” And Saliba is right.

But how do you make going home a ‘calming time’ when you’re already home 24/7 because of the pandemic?

And now, people are returning to work and finding the return trip as unsettling. Just how are the returnees keeping their sanity?

Clyde & Company, points out in Lexology.com,  “Returning to work, whether that means starting work again after a period of furlough, or returning to the office, will involve change for many; and that may lead to worry and potentially stress.”

Work life has been changing for a while. The coronavirus pandemic has led to a change which brings more uncertainty and new challenges. When the lock down began, almost everyone’s work life was affected. As they ease lock downs, work lives are impacted again.

Being in, or out of, lock down isn’t a choice for most people. Around the globe, people are being called back to work even when the official advice is to work from home if possible.

Often workers have a mixed feeling about returning to work. It is exciting and longed for or there is anger at the feeling of being forced back too fast. 

People that have been working from home often have occupied time with volunteering, hobbies, and even learning new skills. Reconnecting with the workplace will take time and can be mentally daunting after so much time away from the office.

Some people may not perform as well as they did before the lockdown began, and others might struggle to grasp a clear-cut schedule to their working day after having various amounts of flexibility in being able to set their own work structure.

Technology can help.

Technology

Some offices are taking measures to reduce the impact on returning employees. Not all the pandemic-driven changes which happen are hi tech. There are plenty of modifications on  the low-tech side. The post-pandemic office can expect to see plenty of new safety protocols meant to minimize the risk of spreading the virus.

Room dividers may transform the open floor plan into a weird plexiglass labyrinth, and the communal office coffee machine may give way to dishwasher safe alternatives.

Here are three more gadgets to fight the spread of the coronavirus as the labor force returns.

Molekule Air Mini

With an onboard PECO filtration system engineered to capture and destroys airborne contaminants including viruses and bacteria, the unit connects with the Molekule app.

CASETiFY UV Sanitizer

Cell phones are among the most contaminated objects we use. According to the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health, the typical cell phone is dirtier than a standard toilet seat. Around the planet, public health offiils are using UV lights to fight the virus in public places and the CASETiFY UV Sanitizer brings the same ability to personal use.

Hook Door Opener Multi-Tool

Photo by: ridgewallet.com

Possibly the lowest of low-tech items to make returning to work healthier, the Hook Door Opener Multi-Tool allows people to open doors and turn handles without physically touching the surfaces.

Returning to the workplace will feel unusual and can even add to the anxiety. But, again, there are some things you can do to lower the stress levels.

Cut back on travel, if you can. Think about changing how you get to work. If you’re used to driving to work, take a bicycle. Or drive instead of taking the train. Explore the options.

Make sure you double up on hand washing.

Minimize gossip and hearsay at work about the news and personal stories. Try to dial back the anxiety level.

Dr. Julia Jones, compares the mindset of a person returning to work to that of an athlete who has taken time off because of injury. “They worry they may never return or at least return to the same skill level.”

Namrata Murlidhar, director of LinkedIn Learning says as people return to work they can find the “parameters of their roles have changed…” and how have “new skills” which are expected of them. “Develop hard and soft skills which give you something to aim for,” Murlidhar adds.

Jerry Nelson is an American writer living the expat life in Argentina. You can find him at any of hundreds of sidewalk cafes and hire him through Fiverr, join the quarter-million who follow him on Twitter or contact him at [email protected]


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