While the reasons may vary from person to person, you aren’t alone if you’re nervous about returning to work or school. As the pandemic winds down, more and more schools and businesses are taking steps to return to the way things were pre-pandemic, and some are moving faster than others. So, what are some common reasons for nerves surrounding re-emergence, and how can you navigate them?
Why Do I Feel The Way I Do?
If you’re like many of the individuals struggling with returning to work or school, you might wonder: “I want to go back, so why do I feel the way I do?” Common concerns surrounding the return to work and in-person academic settings include but aren’t limited to:
• Re-entering too fast. While we’ve seen a decline in COVID-19 cases, many people are concerned about returning to work or school before the number of COVID-19 cases has decreased further.
• A lack of precaution. Your workplace or school may be making moves that you aren’t comfortable with in terms of re-emergence, such as allowing people to return at full capacity without requiring masks or vaccine cards.
• Social concerns. You may be nervous about seeing people you haven’t seen well over a year, or you may struggle with a disorder such as social anxiety disorder.
• Trouble adjusting or a lack of accommodation. The pandemic showed us that we are indeed able to accommodate people through remote work options and other means. It may be difficult to re-adjust to in-person work, or you may find that returning to work means a loss of necessary or helpful accommodations.
Returning To Work Or School
Here are some tips for navigating your return:
• Take safety precautions. Continue to check the CDC website for information and updates regarding the coronavirus pandemic and how to prevent the spread of the virus.
• Adjust what you can. You may have a chronic illness, a high-risk family member, or you may be someone who hasn’t been able to access the vaccine yet. You may also be someone who lost access to accommodations or practices, such as working from home part of the time or all of the time, that are necessary, helpful, or simply a better option for you. If this is the case, it may be something to bring up with your employer. See if you can adjust work or school to make it more accessible and appropriate for your situation.
Remember that you aren’t alone. If the concerns you’re struggling with are primarily related to re-integrating socially, it can be helpful to remember that many people are going through the same thing. If you experience bullying or other similar matters, bring it up to HR or an appropriate staff member at your college or university.
Use self-care. This might mean making sure that you have a positive sleep hygiene routine in place, using positive self-talk, engaging in activities you enjoy, spending time outdoors, nurturing social relationships, or something else.
Ask for support. Mental health has been a concern since the pandemic first hit, and now, the mental health implications of the coronavirus pandemic, including an increase in depressive symptoms, trauma, and anxiety, have been researched in various studies. Consider seeing a counselor or therapist who can help.
Find A Therapist
Whether you’re struggling with stress related to work and school, relationships, familial issues, or something else that’s on your mind, finding a licensed counselor or therapist can be a game-changer. You can find a licensed counselor or therapist by searching the web, asking your doctor for a referral, contacting your insurance company to see who they cover, utilizing employee or student resources such as on-campus mental health services or an employee assistance program, or by signing up for a reputable online therapy platform like BetterHelp. Online therapy is an excellent option for busy professionals, students, or anyone else who is interested in receiving remote counseling or therapy services. Regardless of how you find a provider, you deserve to get the support that you need, so don’t hesitate to take the first step today.