Mental health at work post Covid | zwavelstreamclinic.co.za
Building mental resilience to cope with anxiety
Building mental resilience to cope with anxiety
August 26, 2020

Safeguarding your mental health at work post Covid

Safeguarding your mental health at work post Covid
 

Before we knew it, Covid-19 went from a 21-day sprint to a marathon with no end in sight. Not only has this had a major impact on our daily lives, but it has also changed the way we work too. For many, if not most, work forms a major part of our lives. With COVID came a lot of changes. One of these was the way we used to work. From going into the office to staying at home full time, all of these factors played a huge role in our mental health.

By now we have come to realise that Covid-19 has more than just physical symptoms. Another impact COVID has on society, is on our mental health. With all the added stresses of working from home to dealing with homeschooling and running a household, COVID has gripped some with anxiety and fear. The strong emotions we are facing during these uncertain times can lead to burnout.

The impact that the pandemic has had on our society is severe and the wellbeing of our mental health needs to be addressed urgently. Returning to work during lockdown can be quite scary and awkward at first. Whether you are going into the office or working from home, the pandemic has most likely changed the way you work.

In this blog post, we will be discussing the subject of returning to work during the pandemic and give you some tips on how to deal with the stress and anxiety of returning to the office.

 
 
 
 

Looking after your mental health when returning to work

We should all take the steps necessary to improve our mental health and build resilience. The ability to cope with adversity is a crucial life skill to have and self-care is a skill that you have to work on constantly. For many of us coming out of lockdown to return to work is not a choice. All across the country, people have been forced to return to work, even when the official advice given is to stay at home if possible. For some, this won’t be possible and the prospect of returning to work causes a lot of mixed emotions. When we start analysing the potential safety risks on ourselves and our families, returning to work can bring along with it added anxiety and stress.

A survey conducted by Giant leap indicated that 86% of people prefer going back to work. The survey also showed that 70% of people missed the general social interactions at the office. 81% of people who took the survey felt that remote working has made communication harder and 70% of people reported that they feel more sedentary, working from home.

Home and remote working tips

Maintain regular hours

Set yourself a schedule and stick to it. Have clear guidelines for yourself when you work. Working normal office hours can help in your transition to working at home. The beauty of remote working is that you have a little flexibility in your day. Some days you might wake up for work a little earlier and on others, you work a little later, it is very important to find and maintain a healthy work-life balance that meets your personal needs.

Create a lockdown morning routine for yourself

A powerful morning routine can be more helpful than a clock. What about your morning routine indicates to you that you’re about to start work? For some, it is making a cup of coffee, for other’s checking emails. During lockdown many aspects of our daily lives changed, and so did our morning routines. Adapting a morning routine that gets you in your working mode will be advantageous to all.

Schedule breaks

Taking small breaks during the day will keep your concentration sharp. Small breaks also give you a chance to re-focus and lowers stress in the form of decompression. This way you will be productive when you work and you’ll feel great doing it. Know your company’s policies on breaks and follow them at home.

Create your office space

If it is at all possible, try and separate workspace from the rest of the house. The dedicated workspace will go a long way in helping you being productive when you work.

Even if you don’t have enough rooms for an office you can still isolate working space for yourself. Once you’ve got your working space, you can start setting it up to accommodate your work needs.

Make the weekends count

Being cooped up in the house all week can take its toll on you. Making the best of the weekends will certainly help in maintaining a healthy and balanced mental state. Use this time to relax and be with family. Catch up on some much-needed sleep and dedicate a few hours to yourself.

Returning and coping with work after lockdown

Returning to work at first might feel strange and slightly awkward. Some might find it easy to return and others won't. Navigating the aftermath will be a challenge for businesses and employees alike. Putting everyone’s safety first must be the main priority for businesses, these safeguarding measures are paramount because no business can survive without its workforce.

Many of us feel confused, worried and very apprehensive about returning to work. In light of this, we decided to give you some general tips that will help in preserving your mental health as we all approach our return to work.

Talk about it and stay connected

Upon your return, it is important to pop-in and see how your colleagues are doing. You don’t have to talk about work-related stuff, a quick chat will help everyone feel connected. After all, we’re all in the same boat. If you have any concerns about returning to work it is best to talk to your manager. Communicating your fears or concerns will assist management in watching out for any emotional impact over the coming months.

Plan ahead and prepare

Start by thinking about your current work situation. Ask yourself, what needs to change for you to do your job well? Most employers would have told their employees what to expect upon their return, but if yours haven’t its best you ask him before returning. Preparing for your return will also go a long way in managing stress and anxiety. Having your hand sanitizer and perhaps an extra mask will keep some of the concerns at bay.

Take things slowly and ease into things

Things are likely to keep changing over the next couple of months so we will need to adjust as those changes occur. The journey and transitioning back to “how things were” might feel slow and long but it’s best not to be discouraged. Look out for yourself and others around you. Respecting each other’s boundaries will also play a huge role in working together as a team.

Take a step back and check in on yourself

Having regular check-ins with yourself throughout the day is a necessity. Ask yourself: Am I coping with this? Are my colleagues respecting my boundaries? What can I do more to improve my mental health at work? Re-evaluating your situation helps put things into perspective. Focusing on positive thoughts will also assist in keeping your stress levels at a minimum.

Frequently asked questions about returning to work after Covid-19

Below is a list of frequently asked questions which can be found on the national institute for communicable diseases website. These questions and answers may differ from organization to organization, however, we feel it is important to be equipped with the right information when returning to work.

Q: My manager has asked me to re-test before I can return to work even though I have been in self-isolation for 14 days.
A: Any person is considered safe to return to the workplace and discontinue self-isolation if they are no longer infectious. This means they developed their first symptoms more than 14 days prior and have not experienced any symptoms for at least 3 days (72 hours).

Q: Shouldn’t I be tested negative first before returning to work?
A: People who have been self-quarantining, because they had contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 and have completed their 14-day quarantine period without developing symptoms, can return to work on day 15. There is no requirement to be tested before returning to work. It is, however, recommended they continue to practice social distancing and good hygiene as a precaution and wear a surgical mask.

Q: Is it a FACT that after 14 days you can’t transfer the Virus anymore?
A: The most infectious period is thought to be 1 to 3 days before symptoms start, and in the first 7 days after symptoms begin. But some people may remain infectious for longer and this is because typically with viruses, the higher the viral load (the more virus circulating in the body), the higher the risk of transmission through known transmission pathways. So the more severe the illness and the higher the viral load, the longer you continue to shed the virus and are infectious.
If someone with mild disease has been symptom-free for 3 days and they developed their first symptoms more than 14 days prior, they are no longer considered to be infectious.

Q: What if I am still showing symptoms after two weeks? Am I not putting co-workers at risk?
A: It is common for patients to continue to have symptoms for longer than the above periods (14 days). Full recovery may take several weeks. Patients who are still symptomatic at the end of their isolation period can be de-isolated provided that their fever has resolved (without the use of antipyretics) and their symptoms have improved. If symptoms are persisting, the worker should seek a medical assessment from their practitioner.

Sources: National Institute for Communicable Diseases

Some general Do’s and Don’ts guidelines for when you do return to work

  • Wash your hands frequently and sanitize thereafter
  • Avoid touching your face if your hands are unwashed
  • Follow your company’s policies and procedures
  • Clean and disinfect your working area frequently. Things you touch regularly must be cleaned vigorously every day
  • If you’re feeling sick, stay home for everyone’s safety
  • Inform your employer if someone in your household is sick and monitor your health
  • Avoid using your co-worker’s telephones, computers and other office equipment
  • Don’t ignore your mental health
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for assistance from your employer or manager
  • Don’t avoid seeking medical help to help you cope. If you are overwhelmed or highly anxious get in touch with someone that can help.
 
 
 
 

With more and more people returning to work every day, we might feel worried about our health and the health of our families. Hopefully, you can harness some of the tips in this article and apply them to your daily lives. However, if the stress and anxiety of returning to work become too much to bear, we suggest taking action and get the help you need.

At Zwavelstream our friendly team offers you world-class treatments in a natural and de-stigmatized setting. Our clinic was built to give patients the care they need by utilizing holistic approaches to help patients restore their mental health and provide them with the best care possible. If you or someone that you know and love is struggling to cope and adapt to the changes of returning to work, get in touch with our team today.

 

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