There is no escaping the fact that the past year has been, and continues to be, very difficult for a lot of us, and the impact will be greater for some than for others. Life after lockdown has been something we have all hoped for for such a long time, but in reality transitioning back will bring challenges and heightened anxieties. Please be assured it is completely normal to feel such worries.
Our emotions have been challenged in every which way for a whole year now, so the most important thing you can do at present is to be kind to yourself and adapt at a pace that suits you and your current comfort zone. Contrary to the fast paced manner in which we were locked down, our transition back can be much more measured and planner for.
The following are some additional tips to help with the transition out of lockdown:
1. Work on your anticipatory anxiety: If you are unsure of your employer’s plans regarding returning to work (such as time frames and safety measures etc.), ask your Line Manager or HR rather than trying to fill in the blanks yourself. Having some certainty will help to alleviate your worries.
2. Be patient with colleagues that don’t appear to be as eager as others about the return to work; back to office hours, the commute and face to face meetings etc. They may be trying to manage anxieties connected with the return so the patience you show will mean so much to them.
3. Talk – Keep connected (not just about all things work related) with colleagues and your Line Manager, you will all help each other through these unusual times. Share your concerns about the return, the commute, missing family and pets. No doubt others will be feeling similar things.
4. The return after months of separation may mean new interpersonal challenges. Be aware and accept that different people have different views and approaches to staying safe.
5. Prioritise Self Care. Ensure your day has structure - having clear boundaries between work and home and making sure energising and relaxing activities are planned in.
6. Be Patient – One thing we have learnt over the past year is that things can change quite suddenly and so the stages on our Road Maps (whether it be the Government’s or your own) are not guaranteed. Be prepared for the need for continued adjustment, and recognise that the need to be kind to ourselves and others has never been more vital. We are all in unfamiliar territory, so the size and speed of the steps you take should always feel comfortable to you.