How I’m coping with anxiety about going back to work
With lockdown restrictions easing, more and more people are going back to work. Our blogger Rachael shares her worries about this and what is helping her cope.
Lockdown has been a tough time for me. As someone who is self-employed and out of work I have been stuck with no income and weeks at home with no focus or motivation. This has really taken a toll on my mental health, as I'm sure it has done for many.
But as the government relaxed the restrictions a couple of weeks ago, I am finally able to start work again, and while I am excited, there are definitely things that make my tummy flutter.
A different way of working
I am a dog groomer, and while dogs cannot pass on the Covid-19 virus directly, their fur and accessories (collars and leads for example) can become contaminated. The way I will have to work is completely different to how I used to groom. I will do my best to sanitise everything between grooms, but I am worried my salon will become a virus-spreading hotspot.
What has helped me cope with worries about returning to work is thinking about everything logistically. I know there is nothing I can do to prevent dogs coming in with the virus, but I can do my best to prevent contamination within the salon.
What can help with anxiety about going back to work
If you are working for yourself in this time I suggest you look up the latest guidance for your particular job as I have done, to make sure everyone is as safe as possible. It may also help to calm any worrying as you will have steps to follow so that you know everything has been done properly. If you are working for someone else then make sure they allow you to be properly informed of measures you will have to take when you return to work.
Something else that has helped me along those lines is preparation. I know what I will have to do differently at work now, but as this is something new for me, I have spent the last few days setting everything up, sorting my new salon and making a new sign. It has given me something to take my mind off any stress that going back to work is causing, and instead filled me with excitement at what is to come. Watching the calendar fill up with bookings has also boosted my mental health greatly as I feel really proud of what I have accomplished.
The importance of self-care
With all the work things going on, one last thing that has really helped is making time for me. Self-care is always important, especially in times of worry. I haven't overloaded myself so I will still have plenty of time to walk my dog or catch up on the latest YouTube videos. Getting to sleep at the right time is also important, so I won't be tired for a day at work.
Returning to work will take some getting used to - being busy getting everything ready the past few days has been a bit of a shock as I realised how little free time I have compared to the weeks where I had all the free time in the world. But I feel better for it, getting back into a routine and into some sense of normality.
I think my final advice to anyone going back to work would be to focus on the positives, though I myself know how difficult that can sometimes be. But whatever changes have to be made, and whatever is scary, find something that you enjoy to focus on; for me it is definitely spending time with the dogs, and though it will be more work with more challenges than before, I can't wait for the feeling of pride when I finish a good clip and can look at the dog and tell myself "you did a good job".
Where to get help
If worries about the coronavirus pandemic are affecting your mental health, you are not alone. Have a look at our page on coronavirus and mental health for tips, advice and information on where you can get support.