I am seeing and hearing more examples of people with anxiety about returning to the office. I think this is to be expected after so many people have been working so long from home. For many, having been away from the workplace for over a year, the concern is about what the new social norms are. Doubt and uncertainty drives anxiety and the brain gets spooked by this (as it does by ambiguity generally). Some people can self-manage successfully their anxiety symptoms, others may need some professional counselling help.
If you feel anxious and you work in Cornwall, then the good news is that you will not be alone. Your reaction about going back to the office is both predictable and understandable. There will be many others like you. Just because not everybody is prepared to admit it publicly, doesn’t mean anxiety is not an issue for many.
How to tackle feelings of unease about going back to the office
One of the most effective ways to deal with unease is to confront it and give a name(s) to what the sense of unease is. The process of naming shifts the brain’s patterns away from anxiety to problem solving – a distraction. This is something you can try yourself, without anyone knowing, and sense whether it is having a calming effect or not. If the effect is positive, repeat the exercise and start to build social resilience.
If your anxiety is more acute and the exercise is not making any difference, then you might consider further professional help.
Return to a place of work is an inevitability and thousands of workers in towns across Cornwall will be adjusting to a working pattern that is familiar on one hand, and different on the other. Remember that office social anxiety is a totally natural feeling, having spent so long away. Especially if you are someone who has enjoyed your own company working from home.
A reminder of some quick tips for coping with anxiety:
- Create space in your mind and in your day to rationalise any fears.
- To aid a sense of calm, try a meditation exercise that you can do quietly during a break or at lunch.
- At a point of anxiety write down how you feel. This has the effect of distracting the brain from what is causing your sense of unease.
- If self-help is proving ineffective, do not blame yourself. You might need some assistance from a professional (who will be happy to help).
Are you anxious about returning to the office?
As an experienced counsellor in Camborne and working across the county, I am able to help you work through any anxieties about returning to your office or place of work. Call me on 07851512049 and let’s work together on making the work place somewhere that you can get ready to go back to.