Post the pandemic, slowly and steadily life is returning back to normal with the daily morning hustles, travel to work, the formal attire, work life discipline etc. The lockdown was a period of rapid adjustment, balancing home and office life, with hectic meeting schedules, late working hours, taking care of the household chores etc.
Understandably, after nearly 2 years of work from home, returning to the workplace is not an easy change and getting back to the previous routine is certainly not an overnight task. Now that offices are opening and employers want their staff to return, it is once again a period of stress and anxiety for the employees who have got so used to the informal working environment. This time returning to the offices and carrying on usual business would not be as simple and quick as just another announcement of reopening or return.
Creating a workplace environment that cares about the mental wellness of the employees has become increasingly important now more than ever. The back to back meetings with busy schedules can adversely make the employees feel tired, exhausted and stressed, thereby affecting their productivity levels and leaving a dent on their mental wellbeing.
While mental well being is important, physical well being also cannot be shunned and therefore it is vital to get a preventive full body health checkup done on a routine basis. Going for a series of medical full body tests to ensure the body is fit and healthy, can be another boost to join the office and work afresh.
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Here are some basic tips that can help you power your mental health and ensure your mental well-being at the workplace.
1. Identify the cause of your anxiety: is it the socialising that you would have to do after nearly 2 years of being anti-social, leaving the safety net of your home, immense work pressure or is it the safety issues like are all your coworkers vaccinated, will the family be safe at home alone, or managing and balancing home and office life. If you are worried about either of these, it is better to talk it out with your co-workers and leader to quickly adjust and heal from the trauma of the pandemic.
2. Strike the optimum work life balance: now that the office is away from home, how to manage and strike a balance between the two is a question which worries the most. Certain adjustments have to be made; you need to ensure setting up a daily routine, completion of work on time, not taking work from the office back once you are at home, so as to keep the office and work life separate, and in the process save yourself the mental exertion and burn outs.
3. Ask & discuss: share your concerns with your employers, discuss the difficulties you are facing –you might not be the only one having problems adjusting. Clarify what is bothering you- safety concerns or commute issues. Sometimes knowing what to expect about the upcoming work environment eases a lot of stress. It can prove to be one of the best ways to tackle exhaustion and depression.
4. Discuss with your co-workers: understand that most of your colleagues are in the same boat; so discussing the stressful issues with them may help you deal with your problems and offer better clarity. How they are dealing with the daily commute to office issues, health queries, mental stress of leaving loved ones at home alone daily etc.
6. Socialise often: mingle with your coworkers, share tea breaks with them, go on a walk with them etc. Catching up with colleagues, empathising with them is a great stress buster. Moving around with people you are comfortable with will surely help you to adjust back easily and swiftly.
7. Set a routine: all of us usually followed a certain routine before the pandemic; revise the rituals before you head back to the office. Set your alarm, dress for work, get your bag ready and make your preparation slowly but thoroughly. Try to get into the swing of things. Set realistic goals, and celebrate all your successes and wins, while also learning from your failures and not let them dampen your mental being.
9. Be gentle – not only with yourself but with others too, for as said before, all are sailing in the same boat. For some the ride is smooth, for others it’s full of rapids. Mistakes will be made, people might get offended, failures are going to be part of the routine, but what needs to be done is not getting depressed, getting over it and moving forward towards your big goals.
10. De-stigmatize mental health: everyone struggles and fights their own battles, don’t be scared of talking about mental health concerns with superiors or the concerned authority. Take stress management classes, discuss mental health care policies and come out of this taboo associated with mental illness.
You have to live with yourself, why not make it a period of happy adjustment and enjoy life in the not-so-new office environment. Mental wellbeing issues can be cured by strong will power and positive attitude. Life is all about changes and how we adapt to it defines it!
Take one day at a time – take time to adjust – talk and discuss about the causes of the anxiety that is troubling you.