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Managing COVID-19 Stress: Returning to Work or School

Now that summer is over, many are returning to work or school.  For most, there’s an adjustment period, and this is even more prominent in times of COVID-19 when a number of employers and schools have limited in person services over the past 18 months.  If you’re feeling anxious, you’re not alone!  According to one report by the CDC, rates of substance use, suicidal ideation, and anxiety have nearly doubled.

What can you do to help make the adjustment smoother?  Here are some suggestions:

  1.  Prepare in advance by reviewing COVID policies and procedures.
  2.  Stock up on supplies, such as masks and hand sanitizer.
  3.  Visualize your day and identify any road blocks.
  4. Identify fears, such as “am I going to contract COVID-19?”
  5. Reframe negative beliefs: “I’m going to get COVID-19,” to “I’m taking all the precautions that I can to prevent getting COVID-19.”
  6. Ensure a good night’s sleep, as most of us have been sleeping and waking up at different times during the pandemic.
  7. Find people to connect with…but remember to social distance.
  8. Find activities to seek outside of work / school environment.
  9. Reward yourself!
  10. Know that you’re not alone.  Most people are feeling a bit anxious about returning to a pre-pandemic life.