HealthVoices of Hope


Tips for coping with the return to your office

Posted at 11:26 AM, Jun 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-09 12:37:33-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- COVID-19 cases are decreasing by the day, while the number of people getting vaccinated continues to rise.

As the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and state officials release restrictions and social distancing guidelines, more companies are starting to bring employees back to work.

For some, the idea of going back into an office or work setting after more than a year is nerve-racking.

Dr. Teralyn Sell, PhD., a psychotherapist, said the task of returning to normal can be daunting for several who’ve been working remotely.

“I remember at the beginning of the pandemic, it was like moving a mountain getting people to work from home," said Sell."Now, we’re asked to push that mountain back exactly where it was before, and I think that’s where some of the anxiety might be coming to play."

Mental health experts say now is the time for people to envision what they’d like their work lives to look like post pandemic.

“I look at these three things; what do I need to accept in my life? What do I need to change and what do I need to leave behind?” Sell said.

While the pandemic has created many challenges, therapists say it’s also given people the opportunity to reevaluate what’s important to them, and make life changes when necessary -- including asking for an alternative schedule at work or changing jobs.

“I think it’s really important to take that personal inventory now because you don’t want to go back to what was, so you need to inventory the things that are working and what isn’t working for you,” Sell suggested.

But even for people who are eager to get back to the way things once were, Sell said it’s important to make sure you re-establish some healthy habits before transitioning back to work.

She added it’s also crucial to avoid the pitfalls of perfection and set realistic expectations for yourself when returning to work.

“Making sure you’re paying attention to waking up and going to bed at the same time, doing your personal hygiene the way you were before,” Sell advised. “All those things are micro habits and once you start stacking micro habits, that’s a really good place to start because as soon as you go back to work, all your routine is going to be upset one more time.”

Sells said making yourself and your family a priority is the best way to transition into a new normal.