Returning to work after lockdown: how to manage your mental health

Many people are starting to go back to work, or back into the office after the last six or so months on lockdown. The pandemic has been a stressful time for everyone, and for many it’s been playing havoc on their mental health. Going back to work, or back to the office after over six months or so of being at home, whether that’s on furlough or not working, is bound to cause anxiety and worry.

It’s normal to feel anxious and or worried if you are returning to work. When at home, the pace is slower, you’re in your comfort zone and most importantly in an environment that you can control. Anxiety is a natural response to leaving this environment and having to yet again adjust to a ‘new normal’.

With this in mind, here are a few tips and tricks on protecting your mental health whilst making this adjustment.

Create Structure for Yourself 

If you have been furloughed, or working from home, it’s likely that you will be out of practice in applying the strict structure to your life that is implemented by the act of going into work every day. Put some routines in place over a period of time such as getting up at a certain time in the morning, and going to bed at a certain time.This will allow you to start putting some structure into your day before you are plunged back into the deep end.

Look After Your Mental Health 

The idea of going back to work after spending a considerable amount of time away from the office or on furlough can be very daunting. The world has changed considerably since the start of lockdown so given that we are not going back to the same office that we were used to, all of us are bound to be anxious. Ensure that you check in with yourself regularly. Ask yourself how you are feeling, if you need to take a step back, take a break and do so when you need to, to ensure you don’t feel overwhelmed.

Communicate With Those Around You 

Everyone who is returning to work will be feeling anxious. We are all in the same situation and it’s an adjustment for everyone. Maintaining good communication with your colleagues helps you feel that you’re not alone, and ensures that you don’t bottle up your worries. Keeping good communication between you and your team leader or manager also means that you can express your fears and feelings as they come up, and they can help you find a solution.