Is my PPE really protecting me?
Will I be exposed to the coronavirus at work?
Could I bring the infection home with me?
What happens if I get sick?
If thoughts like these are swirling in your mind and making you feel overwhelmed, know you’re in good company. The pandemic has caused tremendous emotional upheaval in our lives. Its effects are so far-reaching that we’ve even coined the term “return anxiety” for the worries surrounding our collective return to work.
Anxiety about returning to work is a beast – but completely natural. And while you may not be able to avoid it, you can take control of it. Here are a few coping strategies from our national staffing agency which may help:
- Don’t worry about the worry.
Acknowledge the psychological toll weeks of isolation have taken on you. Don’t try to prevent worrying; instead, accept it as it comes and focus on controlling the things you can: your attitude, the quality of the work you perform, and the measures you can take to stay safe.
- Do everything you can to protect yourself and others.
Simple actions like the ones recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) can help minimize risk, increase feelings of control and reduce your anxiety:
- Educate yourself about how the virus is spread.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not readily available.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick – even those in your home.
- Practice social distancing of 6 feet or more with people outside your home.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes and wash your hands afterward.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces regularly.
- Monitor your health, watching for symptoms of COVID-19.
- Follow additional protocols and guidelines your employer provides to ensure your safety,
such as wearing approved Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), staggering breaks and sanitizing workstations and equipment. Your employer has added these measures as an extra layer of protection for you and your coworkers; those additional layers should help alleviate your fears about working on site.
- Reconnect with your team.
Socialization (at a minimum of 6 feet, of course) can be a great antidote to anxiety. Take time to check in with your colleagues and reestablish personal connections.
- If you are still struggling, get help.
There is no shame in asking for support when you need it. Talk to your manager to find out what resources they provide to promote your mental health and well-being. And if you choose to seek outside of work, you can contact the national SAMHSA Treatment Referral Helpline at 1-877-SAMHSA7 (1-877-726-4727). If you are feeling severely depressed or suicidal, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
Additional resources for managing your anxiety as you return to work:
- Read “Successfully Transitioning Back to Work“
- Subscribe to our Innovations newsletter. Sign up for free news, tips and trends in job search and career success.
Out of work?
Don’t stress; find a great job through PrideStaff. Our recruiters can help alleviate the anxiety associated with your job search – and present opportunities with employers who operate safely in our new normal.