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Reopening Stress: How to Manage Stress When Returning to the Workplace

We are so grateful to see so many people getting vaccinated! And it is exciting to see some familiar things coming back into our daily lives - like stores, restaurants, and outdoor events. As places of business begin to reopen, it can be easy to find yourself anxious about what is safe, what is not, and how we begin to adjust to this "new normal".

It's Ok to Not Be Ok

First, it's important to acknowledge that it's ok to be uncomfortable or uneasy about going back to old ways in a new world. Sometimes the stigma of feeling uncomfortable can be as challenging as the situation itself. Knowing that it's perfectly normal to feel tentative or stressed can help to begin to calm nerves and focus on a solution.

Ask Questions

Think about what is making you uncomfortable and discuss it with your employer. Some questions may be:

  • Is my workspace set up to maintain social distancing and practicing safety guidelines?

  • What if I don't want to get the COVID-19 vaccine?

  • What if my co-workers don't get the vaccine?

  • What if my children's schools are still closed?

All of these are fair questions to ask and your employer should be willing to discuss each of them with you.

Find Ways to Reduce Stress

While it may be impossible to completely eliminate stress, there are ways we can reduce it. The effects of stress on the body can manifest both physically and mentally, therefore working to reduce the negative impact is essential. Exercise, a healthy diet, and deep breathing exercises can help to combat stress.

Working on practicing mindfulness is another way to reduce stress and the negative impact of it on the body and mind. Mindfulness is "a mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique". This can be achieved with meditation, deep breathing, or just a quiet moment alone. Working to center the mind and be completely aware of what is happening at the moment can bring clarity and calm to chaotic situations.

More Resources

Our founder, Dr. Mara Windsor, was featured on Channel 12 news story "How to reduce stress when returning to the workplace amid pandemic". Click here to watch the story and read Mara and other professionals' tips on how to reduce stress in the reopened workplace.

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