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Dreading going back to work post lock down? This is for you.

We are living in an interesting period of history. Our perspective and understanding of what's happened is changing, and still continuing to unfold. Occupational disruption, our normal activities and obligations have been flipped around and turned upside down. We've all been living in our own various individual metaphorical islands these past few months. For some of us, this has been an isolating period of difficulty and worry in their own ‘island’. The topic of post lock down going back to work brings up a mix of reactions, depending on your own individual experience.

However, I would like to also address another side of this disruption: those of you who have actually enjoyed COVID lock down. Some parts of these circumstances may have improved your life. Perhaps you have gotten better at a skill, gotten more health conscious, or been able to enjoy time with family or finish books and feel less stressed. You may actually be questioning the way things were before lock down if you have found more peace with yourself now. I'm here to tell you those feelings are completely valid, and you are definitely not alone.

We have all been working and living this way for so long, so we accept that it’s the standard way of living. However, lock down has revealed that our way of working, our hobbies and socialising can be done in different ways. It has shown us that alternative ways of working from home and distance learning can be more productive and enjoyable for some of us. It has also highlighted difficult parts of our daily living that were previously just being bulldozed through by us, and now some of those parts may no longer need to be done the way they used to, or be obsolete. Post lock down going back to work will prove to be a time of reevaluating and making changes in how we do things.

In my mind I have been comparing it to getting some kind of tech upgrade. Imagine using the same type of tech device every day, then suddenly being given a new model. It looks and feels different. And whilst it is difficult to navigate at first, you soon see that it has a lot of benefits that the last device didn’t have. However, after getting used to it, you suddenly get put back on the old device that you had before. Yes, you can still use it … but now, part of it is more frustrating because you have seen what the new device can do.

So, are you feeling anxious or down about returning to “normal”? Does leaving the bliss of lock down for the 9-5 shift get you down? If so, here are a few ideas that might be helpful to aid in the readjustment.

1. Don’t be angry at yourself because you don't want to go back to that previous way of living.

It is a completely natural feeling and something we should all be open to verbalise together.

2. Use this as a ‘taking stock’ opportunity of the benefits.

Write out what parts of lock down made you happier, and what parts did not. Use this to reflect on how you can incorporate this into your life going forward, and what parts to remove from your daily life. You do have control over what you choose to add or remove from your life in order to be happier and more productive. You might find work colleagues or friends have similar ideas to you, so bring them forward!

3. Trust in your ability to adapt.

You are not alone in this situation, others are also making this transition with you. As much as change can appear intimidating or not in our best interest sometimes, we are able to cope with it. We can change and adapt, and we will still be able to function despite the many changes we may face! Things have been in constant change in your life before lock down. Things are always fluctuating, and you've managed it all that time until this point.

4. Be open about how you feel with someone trustworthy.

You don’t need to feel shame over these feelings. Being able to talk about your concerns may help ease any anxiety about going back to “normal” and provide some clarity to your thinking about how to go about making changes in your life.

5. Focus on what you do want to get back to.

It doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom! I know that I cannot wait to get back to visit a friends house or go back to the gym. These are elements I like to focus on to remind me to pick up the things I missed again. It reminds me that opening up again does have its benefits.

So how do you feel about returning to work and your life before lock down? Do you have post lock down work dread or are you eager to get back to it? Are there any points I missed or you would like to add? Please feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts.

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