As many of us re-enter the workplace in a time where the COVID-19 outbreak continues, it’s normal to feel some tension and worry about not knowing if anyone (i.e., your colleagues, managers, etc.) has had the virus or has been asymptomatic. That’s why we’ve created a list with tips below to help you effectively deal with this added stress when returning to a normal work routine and how to manage the fear of contracting COVID-19 at work and bringing it home to your loved ones:
- Consider the news you take in. Take a break from reading constant updates and news reports and just examine what happens to your fear and anxiety levels and how relaxed you feel.
- Educate yourself about COVID-19. Know the facts and real health risks, then make decisions accordingly. Be sure to get your information from reputable sources, such as the CDC.
- Detach from fear. Recognize it comes from a part of your brain, not you. Tap into your inner knowing; it’ll tell you whether you really need to worry or if you can trust that you’re safe.
- Practice deep breathing. This is a great way to detach from your fear(s) and reduce tension. If you’re feeling anxiety and having trouble focusing, take 10 deep inhales and exhales.
- Declare your courage. Try statements like “I am brave.” Also, if you’re around fear-driven people, try seeking and talking to courageous people and see how their energy affects yours.
- Engage in meditation. This helps reduce the stress response and engage the relaxation response, letting your body free itself from fear and turn on its natural healing mechanisms.
- Connect while maintaining social distancing. Make sure that you are always standing at least six feet away when having face-to-face conversations with your co-workers and supervisors.
- Get professional help if you need it. Start by calling your insurance company and finding out what they cover. If you don’t have insurance, contact free mental health hotlines.
- Focus on all the good. Look at the COVID-19 situation through the eyes of the community. It’s a time for everyone to bond and support each other with kindness and compassion.
- Get outside for some fresh air. Break up your workday and the social distancing norm with some trips outside to help you refresh, which provides positive health benefits, too!
- Be kind to yourself. It’s OK to not be perfect, focused 24/7, or in the moment with your children or partner all the time. Find and use the things that help you feel centered.
- Increase your sense of control. Creating a consistent daily routine when possible — one that is ideally similar to your pre-pandemic schedule.
- Recognize what stress looks like. Know the common work-related factors that can add to stress during a pandemic.
- Identify the things that are out of your control. Do the best you can with the resources available to you.
- Schedule “worry time” into your daily routine. Take 15 minutes each day (not before bedtime) to worry all you want about the things that are out of your control.
- Learn how to build your resilience. Check out our blog post titled How to Build Your Resilience During a Crisis.