What’s getting back to the grind going to look like?
By Naveed Rozais
The lockdown has been a stressful time all around, but for some, if not many, it has also been a chance to take a step back, breathe, and reflect. With work and school schedules suspended, many have been able to work from home and spend more time with their families.
Now that life is slowly starting to get back to normal, it is likely that many of us are apprehensive about the coming weeks, and adjusting back to the daily grind.
The Morning Brunch spoke to Clinical Psychologist Dr. Suhaila Shafeek Irshard, to get her thoughts on how to make the easiest transition back to daily life.
“There has been a rise in reports of anxiety over the last few months, with roughly three peaks. The first was at the start of the lockdown amidst all the uncertainty at that time, the second was at the one-month mark of the curfew with people very worried, and the third and last one is what is happening at present, now that the curfew is lifted and life is resuming,” Dr. Irshard said.
This rise of anxiety is not unexpected, as we are going through a time of great change coupled with fear for our health and wellbeing.
Back at the office: What will it be like?
After months of relative calmness, going back to the office, with all its people, sights, sounds, and pressure, can end up being overstimulating, particularly considering that both employers and staff are already stressed by the pandemic.
To overcome any anxiety of returning to work, Dr. Irshard recommends simple exercises like mentally rehearsing possible workplace scenarios. These may not be accurate but will create a sense of what to expect.
Do not expect to run at 100% immediately; this is a time of change and adjustment, and self-compassion will be more important than ever.
Letting go of preconceived notions is also very important. Posts on social media may state that lockdown is a time to have achieved X, Y, or Z, but perfection is an ideal that is very hard to live up to. While it is more than okay to have specific goals, focusing on what is truly important and being otherwise flexible is a powerful way to keep your mental balance.
Other tips are reaching out to colleagues and friends and seeing how they are feeling and what they are anticipating. Many people are anxious and connecting meaningfully can help everyone.
For those with strong anxiety, see if your workplace can offer a way for you to ease back into a physical work schedule like a mix of physical and remote work.
Self-care is key
In times of turmoil, always practise self-care. Looking after yourself and doing things like eating healthy and getting some exercise can work wonders for your mental state. Self-care also means self-compassion. Give yourself a break and take things at your own pace.
The risk of infection is still real, so make sure to follow health and community guidelines; they’re in place for a reason, even if they may seem ridiculous. They are in place for your safety and those around you.
Be kind, be responsible
During this time, many people will feel a sense of unrealness and shock. Remember that this is temporary, and in the meantime, be kind, to others and yourself.