anxiety about going back to work

If you are experiencing anxiety about going to work post-pandemic, you are not alone. Don’t overlook your emotions. Of course, you know what is normal for you and what is not. So, if you recognize your stress is compounding, pay attention. Are you noticing any feelings that have become uncontrollable or excessive? Constantly feeling worried, tired, or irritable is not healthy.

If you’re already managing your anxiety, make sure those in your community are managing theirs, too. Check-in with friends and family. Sometimes we don’t notice changes that others see. In these instances, having a support system makes all the difference.

When it comes to stress, there are a number of tactics for easing your mind. The simplest approach to overcoming anxiety about going to work relies on the Rule of 3. From Aristotle to content writing, debates and more, psychologists and scholars agree- there’s magic in the number 3! Since the 4th century BCE (and perhaps before that) the rule has been a cornerstone to persuasive communication strategies. When it comes to information sharing, research shows that people are more likely to remember details grouped by three.

There are many great examples. Let’s start simple. Pretend you are literally on fire. What should do you do? If memory and the power of #3 serve you well, you might be inclined to: 1.) Stop 2.) Drop 3.) Roll.

I get it, threats in the workplace, are not the same as those in everyday life, let alone the wilderness. Still, we are constantly evolving our behaviors to adapt to our changing environments, work or otherwise. Not surprisingly, the solution isn’t always as easy as, “breath and count to three.” However, studies show that behavior can, indeed, be influenced with the help of the 333 Rule.

Sometimes anxiety is a little feeling lingering just beneath the surface. Other times, it’s a giant alarm triggered by an unsettling thought or event. Since the pandemic, anxiety and depression are on the rise. If you’ve been fortunate enough to keep your job, you are undoubtedly making changes to the way you work. We all are. A huge stress factor for most people, is change. Right now, that’s happening at rapid speed and scale. Additionally, there is significant worry over an uncertain economy, health and financial stability. The duality of life, work and home, can leave you feeling overwhelmed under normal circumstances. Today, life is anything but normal.

It is very easy to get consumed by all the emotions stirring within you. When left unmanaged, that creates an emotional drain. Beyond the zapped energy levels, it can sabotage your health and overall wellbeing. Even if you prefer they go away, you don’t want to ignore bad feelings. Anxiety about going to work is very real. So, talk to your doctor about mental health. In sudden moments of overwhelm, believing in the magic of #3 can help you get back to a more comfortable realty.

333 to Relieve Anxiety About Going to Work

1. Sight

If you feel anxiety coming on, take a pause. Look all around you. Focus on your vision and the physical objects that surround you. Then, name three things you can see within your environment. Pay attention to the details of each. If you see a flower pot, notice the color or a pattern of cracks in it’s glaze coating.

2. Sound

After that you have taken note of three things within your sight, start listening. Identify three sounds that you can hear. Take note of the unique pitch or cadence of each.

3. Touch

Once you’ve embraced the new melodies that surround you, engage your sense of touch. Choose three parts of your body to move. For instance, tap your fingers, wiggle your toes, and move your head from side to side.

If you’re anything like me, when your sense of sight, sound, and touch join together, it may begin to feel like a symphony. Enjoy the rhythm and harmonies. Music can pull you out of a dark emotional place.

333, in this context, is a tool for emotional grounding. Some consider it a trick to distract your brain. Actually, there’s more to it than that. Anxiety and overwhelm are often results of feeling like things are out of your control. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy to let go of things you can’t control.

On the other hand, there are still things that are within your control. By engaging your senses and the 333 exercise, you can shift your awareness to the present. When you bring yourself back to center, you can overcome negative feelings. While we often cannot change what’s happening in the world around us, we can reshape the way we look at our presence within the world.

To relieve anxiety about going to work, rethink the way you get work done. Returning to a corporate office doesn’t mean you have to complete your work in the same way you were pre-pandemic. In fact, many businesses forced to change are thriving because of it! It’s ok to not want to stay the same. Similarly, it’s ok to seek comfort in routine. We are all unique. That’s a good thing!

While it may not always feel like it, you are in control of your life. Amid uncertainty and anxiety, your talents are a gift you can rely on to guide your journey and overcome professional and personal challenges. Stay connected to your feelings. Validate them. Despite uncertainty and anxiety about the future, you still have the opportunity to be present today. You must make space for emotional processing. You are in control of your headspace.