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Is returning to work in an office causing anxiety? Here’s how to cope

·4-min read

Los Angeles, May 06, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The lifting of pandemic-related restrictions across the country means a return to the workplace, and with that comes anxiety about returning. President of The Chicago School of Professional Psychology and licensed clinical psychologist Dr. Michele Nealon has advice for easing the anxiety.

“For many of us who were lucky enough to be able to work from home during the pandemic, it’s normal to feel some anxiety about going back to work in an office, as well as some reluctance to change the routines we have established while being at home,” said Dr. Nealon. “It’s important to separate out what you are anxious about. Are you concerned about your health? Are you disappointed that working from home has ended? Is it something else?”

Dr. Nealon believes that keeping the positive aspects of being out and about again is going to be helpful. “Going to an office means we have reached the stage in the pandemic where that is possible again. That is something profound to celebrate. We also get to see our colleagues in person again, many of whom may also be good friends that we haven’t been able to see in person for a very long time. For so many, isolation has taken a real toll on mental health and wellbeing. A sense of camaraderie virtually is no replacement for in-person interaction.”

Dr. Nealon offers the following tips to reduce return-to-work reluctance and anxiety.

Mentally prepare. Take the time to understand what you’re feeling and what you’re stressed about. This can help you get ahead of what you need to prepare for while also giving you a sense of control.

Talk to your boss. Find out what the new office protocols are, and if there are things you can do to make yourself feel better about returning to the workplace. If you are concerned about your health, for example, find out if you need to bring your own hand sanitizer or wipes. Can you work from home for some part of the week while still maximizing your work efforts?

Put your routine in place. Re-establish your routine before you actually have to go back to the office. Implement a going-to-the-office sleeping and eating schedule, start dressing in work clothes again, and get your family used to the new schedule by practicing with them.

Remember this is an uncommon situation. This is new to all of us, and we are not going to have all the answers right away. Practice patience with your employer and yourself, knowing that we’re all trying to figure things out after over a year of uncertainty

Engage in self-care. Focus on taking care of yourself so that you remain physically and emotionally strong. Do things that help you better cope with stressors.

Reach out for help. If you find that this transition back to the office is overwhelming you, it’s important to acknowledge that and contact a professional for help.

“That we can open office spaces again on such a wide-scale is a sign we’re turning another corner in our efforts to beat the pandemic,” said Dr. Nealon. “That’s good for all of us.”

For resources on mental and behavioral health, go to http://www.thechicagoschool.edu/insight/.

About The Chicago School of Professional Psychology

Integrating theory with hands-on experience, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology provides education rooted in a commitment to innovation, service, and community for thousands of diverse students across the United States and globally. Founded in 1979, the nonprofit, regionally accredited university now features campuses in iconic locations across the country (Chicago, Southern California, Washington, D.C., New Orleans, Dallas) and online. To spark positive change in the world where it matters most, The Chicago School has continued to expand its educational offerings beyond the field of psychology to offer more than 35 degrees and certificates in the professional fields of health services, nursing, education, counseling, business, and more. Through its engaged professional model of education, commitment to diversity and inclusion, and an extensive network of domestic and international professional partnerships, The Chicago School’s students receive real-world training opportunities that reflect their future careers. The Chicago School is also a proud affiliate of TCS, a nonprofit system of colleges advancing student success and community impact. To learn more, visit www.thechicagoschool.edu.

CONTACT: Lisa Riley The Chicago School of Professional Psychology 312.646.9130 lriley@thechicagoschool.edu