Struggling To Be “Back At The Office” After COVID?
I got my first taste of remote work during the COVID-19 lockdown. I began working from home in March 2020 and though it felt pretty unconventional in the beginning, it quickly turned into a pleasant adaptation.
I genuinely learned to love everything about working from home. Not only were the benefits for my mental and physical health outstanding, but my productivity was even better than before.
In September 2020, I received an email from my company requesting my return to the office in the following 3 days. My world sunk. I was not ready to go back so abruptly. Thankfully, they provided me with a 2-week extension.
I resumed in-person work duties in the first week of October 2020. I must confess that the adjustment was not been agreeable.
Though I was conscious of my inner notion against returning to the office, I genuinely thought that returning to such familiar and ordinary activities would not cause much distress. I was wrong.
Despite my appreciation for my co-workers, the feelings of anxiety, demotivation, stress, sadness, dissatisfaction, and annoyance have inhibited me. I felt resentful for sacrificing my self-care time for more driving, unnecessary chats, forced lunch breaks, pre-cooked meals, cleaning at night, and waking up earlier than I should.
If you can relate, here are some tips to ease your transition from working remotely to back to the office.
PRACTICE MINDFULNESS AND ACCEPTANCE:
- Pin-point your emotions about being back at the office.
- Tell yourself it’s okay to feel negative emotions.
- Watch your behavior (are you eating a little more/less than usual? cranky? isolating? being rude, or distant?)
- Become aware of your physical state. Where in your body are you experiencing stress? How are you sleeping? What about your eating patterns?
- Come to terms with what you have been missing and grieving from working from home.
- Accept your situation, and make peace with it. Remember, change is inevitable.
ANALYZE WHAT IS DIFFERENT NOW
- Make a mental list of the things that have changed in the office.
- Notice pros & cons about being back.
- Note the things that have changed in your personal life/routine.
- Find the root of what is causing you stress.
- Engage in effective practices to soothe tension/pain in your body.
- Get back on track with self-care.
- Plan your break at work! Do things that you enjoy during this time. Schedule lunch with friends, take a walk, get yourself a treat, call a friend, color, or read a book.
- Let it out!!! Talk to friends or loved ones. Tell them what you are going through. Do not isolate yourself, you need to slowly get used to being around people again. Start with the ones you love :)
- Consider talking to your co-workers or supervisors. Let them know you are still adapting to the transition.
CHANGE YOUR THOUGHTS
- Think of the positives about being back in the office.
- Make time to engage in mood-boosting activities in your free time.
- Write down one positive affirmation a day.
- Practice gratitude before going to bed.
INSTALLATION OF HOPE
- What is something you are looking forward to in the near future?
- Restore your energy with physical activity and superfoods.
- If going back to working remotely is what you would like; What steps can you take to accomplish that goal?
- Keep your mind busy with things you are passionate about.
- Focus on a new life goal (I am considering going pescatarian)
- Make it a point to reach a compassionate state of mind (towards you and those around you).
I hope these tips are helpful!