Top Tips to manage your anxiety around going back to work

Top Tips to manage your anxiety around going back to work

Have you been asked to return back from furlough by your employer?

Perhaps you are now being asked to go back into the office again? Are you feeling anxious at the thought of that? Here are my top tips to help you manage this anxiety and hopefully help you cope better through this tricky time….

1) What is causing your anxiety? Have a good think and be honest with yourself about what exactly is making you feel anxious.

2) Capture what is going on for you. Ask yourself the following questions and record the answers:
a) What is happening in my body? For example, is my breathing fast and shallow?
b) What am I doing as a result of feeling anxious? For example, am I avoiding places or people? Or am I eating more than I should?
c) When I think about returning to work, what are my thoughts?

3) Write yourself a self-help guide based on your answers above. Here are some of my suggestions to go into your plan:

  • Start by doing a breathing exercise, one that encourages slow, deep breathing
  • -Do a relaxation exercise as well such as progressive muscle relaxati
  • if you feel overwhelmed by the physical symptoms of anxiety, focus on something in the present, such as something you can see or hear or smell in your immediate surroundings.
  • Use distraction techniques such as a pre-rehearsed visualisation.
  • Carry a vile of comforting scent with you.
  • Look at what you might be avoiding and prepare a plan to expose yourself to it gradually. For example, talk with your manager about slowly building your office time up to full time rather than starting at that point.

4) Tackle your unhelpful thoughts. When our thoughts are not helping us, it is important to identify them and then learn to challenge them. You can do this in the following ways:
a) Look for the evidence for the thought –is it really true? What are the facts?
b) Is it really as awful as that?
c) Remind yourself that just because you feel anxious does not mean it is dangerous
d) What would a friend advise you to do? What would you say to a friend in the same situation?
e) If your thinking is very ‘black and white’ then find the ‘grey’ thought somewhere in the middle
f) Look at the bigger picture and take a look at it from a different perspective
g) Ask yourself how you might feel about this in the future – will it always seem this bad?