Returning to work and education

Many of us are preparing for a sense of normality and getting back to the hustle and bustle of everyday life. As exciting as this may be for some, for others, it has conjured up mixed feelings. We can all agree, change is scary no matter how big or small and returning to work, school or university have their own challenges. These feelings of anxiety and worry are our normal human responses to potentially harmful situations.

How can we help each other and ourselves?

  1. Be a listening ear to your colleagues: look out for signs your colleague might be struggling. Some indicators may be social withdrawal or acting out of character. 
  2. Be patient: if you notice a colleague is slower or seems like they are struggling with a task, acknowledge that there is likely a reason why; try to give them a little extra time and space.
  3. Take regular breaks: As difficult as this was during the lockdown, taking breaks is just as essential whilst working in an office or other work environment.
  4. Speak to your line manager: if you have concerns or are struggling to cope, liaise with them. Asking for help can be daunting, but it’s often the first and most crucial step to getting the support you need. You may find it easier to send an email or make a phone call initially rather than speaking to someone face-to-face.
  5. Speak to support services outside of work: your GP or your local IAPT service.

Last but not least, remember that you are not alone in feeling apprehensive or anxious; since the start of COVID-19, we have all faced numerous unforeseen challenges. Be kind to yourself, acknowledge how you feel and be intentional about supporting yourself and those around you. 

For more information on how to deal with the anxieties of returning to work, visit the BPS website for employee and employer guidance.

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