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Feeling anxious about returning to work?

Whether you’re returning from furlough this month, getting back to the workplace after redundancy or you’re simply starting a new job after a period of time off, you might be feeling a little jittery at the prospect. While it’s completely normal to be nervous, there are plenty of things you can do to help you settle those anxieties and step into your role with confidence.

Why do you feel nervous about returning to work? 

We’ve all been through a lot this past 18 months. From lockdowns and job insecurities, health concerns and even bereavement. There’s still a lot for us to process and it’s natural to feel that jumping straight back into ‘normal’ life is just a little…well…too much. 

From a rise in social anxiety to an increase in more general anxiety and depression, there are a lot of reasons that daily life might be more of a challenge.  It’s not surprising then, that after months of isolation, the prospect of returning to a busy workplace can be nerve-wracking. Particularly since the virus is still circulating and the rules continue to be ever-changing.

Tips to help ease the anxiety of a return to the workplace

With this in mind, we wanted to offer some support, whether you’re starting a role through Nu Staff or returning to a workplace elsewhere. There are plenty of things you can do to help ease the transition:

·       If you’re feeling nervous about returning to the workplace after a period of time, don’t be afraid to mention it to your new employer or recruitment agency. They will understand and may be able to offer a pre-start visit to show you around and help you get a feel for what to expect, where you’ll be working and perhaps even a few of the new faces. Remember it’s in everyone’s best interests that you feel relaxed, motivated and ready to get stuck in on day one.  

·       A little while before your return, try to change your routines in line with those you’ll have once you get back to the ‘day job’ – that might mean getting up earlier or going to bed earlier and eating meals at specific times rather than grazing or snacking throughout the day. Giving your body a chance to reset and get ready will help to reduce the ‘shock to your system’ of getting back into that daily routine. 

·       If you feel your anxieties are spiralling out of control, take some time to really focus on how you are feeling and what, specifically, you are worried about. Perhaps talk to a trusted friend or family member or write down your thoughts. This simple act of committing thoughts to words, particularly getting them down on paper, can really make a difference in terms of putting things in perspective.

·       As you read or review what you’ve written down, try reframing those thoughts from negatives to positives. For example, a fear of having to interact with so many people after such a long time could be reframed as the ‘opportunity’ to regain social contact and gain a new network of friends and colleagues. Yes, it may take you outside your comfort zone to start with but the rewards in the long term will be worth it. 

·       Begin some healthy habits and add exercise into your daily routine. Even if that is simply the walk to work or a few times around the block. Clearing your head, getting some air and getting the blood pumping will all be good for giving you more motivation and a more positive outlook. 

·       If your worries are impacting your sleep or preventing you from finding time to relax, try an app like Headspace. Taking care of your mental health is vital when it comes to periods of change and transition.

·       If you have any health issues which might impact your return to work, or you feel the levels of anxiety you’re experiencing are unmanageable, make sure you see your GP for professional help and support. 


Keep in mind, you will not be the only person who is feeling like this, it’s incredibly common to struggle with transitions into a new role or workplace. And this has only been exacerbated by recent events. Give yourself a break, take a deep breath and take just one step at a time. 

 If you are looking for a job, whether it be temporary or permanent get in touch with our team. 

Send us an email or call our office on 03442 645 456.