With many Americans returning to work, there may be a lot of anxiety associated with the fear of being exposed to COVID-19, as well as simply returning to old routines with new rules. While the lockdown gave us lots of time on our hands, time also seemed to halt due to the extreme stress and danger many were feeling.
One suggestion is to remember that anxiety is OK and actually can be good. It prepares us for the changes ahead and the uncertainty. It is the body’s mode of protection and preparation. So embrace the anxiety and remember others are experiencing it too! You are not alone in this.
Also, try to embrace the return to structure. Lack of structure actually heightens anxiety. Routine is healing and reassuring. Try to get into your typical routine before returning to work. Wake up, bathe, and dress as you normally did before. Try to get your bedtime routine back to normal as well. Enough sleep is crucial to boosting our moods and energy.
Use the resources offered to cope with anxiety and transitioning. The COVID-19 Careline is free and available 24 hours per day at 1-800-720-9616. If you see a therapist, continue to stay in touch. If not, reach out and speak to one. It’s the perfect excuse to start managing your anxiety.
Lastly, of course, do ALL the things you already know to protect yourself: wash your hands excessively, disinfect high traffic areas hourly, wear a face mask, stay six feet away from others, remember to take deep breaths frequently throughout the day.
William James said it best a century ago: “Life is in the transitions.”