Post-pandemic anxiety is real. After more than a year working from home, a lot of us have concerns about going back into the office and returning to the life that COVID-19 abruptly changed. 

Whether you’re anxious about getting back to your regular social life or concerned about the virus, you may find yourself dreading returning to the office. Even with vaccines, masks and other precautions, anxiety surrounding taking this big step may be hard to manage. 

While a little bit of anxiety is normal, when you feel like it’s debilitating and taking over your life, there are a few steps you can take to get your anxiety under control.

1.) Be patient with yourself 

Remember, it’s okay to feel uneasy about returning to work. You’re basically starting over again after having to completely transform your life. Despite your best efforts, you’re going to feel uncomfortable or unsure at some moments, which is why it’s so important to be patient with yourself. You and your coworkers are all trying to find your way back to a new “normal.”

2.) Find ways to feel safe at work 

If the virus is something you’re worrying about at work, take the precautions you feel necessary to make yourself feel safe. If that means wearing a mask, social distancing, keeping sanitary with hand sanitizer, clorox wipes, etc. do it! Whatever helps your anxiety while allowing you to get your job done is important. 

3.) Talk to your coworkers and employer

Trust me, although you may feel like you’re alone in your anxiety, you’re not! Find a way to engage others in dialogue about the realities of what is going on in the world and with you mentally. Together, come up with a path that you all feel comfortable following. Productively sharing your emotions and fears associated with the virus and returning to work may not only help your anxiety subside, but allow others to feel open and comfortable with their own feelings. 

4.) Breathe! 

Anxiety, especially when you’re at work, can be extremely overwhelming. One of the best things you can do is just breathe. Find breathing exercises or simply take 5 deep breaths to recenter yourself. 

5.) Maintain a good daily routine 

Having a good daily routine makes your day flow a whole lot better, especially when trying to get back into the swing of things. Make a schedule to follow each day but set aside room in your day for your work, self care, and to check in on yourself. This will help you know what your day holds and allows you to make room to take care of yourself. 

6.) Seek professional treatment if needed 

Sometimes breathing, practicing self care and being as open as you can be to yourself and your coworkers isn’t enough – which is completely fine! Having a therapist will help you navigate your anxiety and help you figure out techniques that work best for you.

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