With a federal initiative called, not surprisingly, Opening America Up Again, along with state-by-state stratagems with names ranging from attempted hipness, in the case of Colorado’s #DoingMyPartCO and South Carolina’s accelerateSC, to attaboy optimism, such as Back on Track Indiana and West Virginia Strong–The Comeback, to aggressive, such as Strike Force to Reopen Texas, to things that sound like book titles, as in the case of Ad Astra: A Plan to Reopen Kansas or New Jersey’s The Road Back: Restoring Economic Health Through Public Health, many Americans are returning to work.
This return after months of isolation during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic can feel intimidating. Some jobs involve working directly with the public, while others allow one more limited contact. Still, as long as you work with people you don’t live with, you’re facing more exposure than you’ve faced while in isolation. Here are some tips to help you feel more comfortable during your transition back into the workforce.
Notify the Unemployment Office
This tip is straightforward: Make sure you let the unemployment office know when you’re going back to work. This will help you avoid having to pay them back money they may have overpaid you.
Buy a Comfortable Mask
If you’re going to be wearing a mask for several hours at a time–and, in the case of some public-facing jobs, for whole shifts at a time–you’ll want to look for the most comfortable mask you can get. It’s worth pointing out that a lot of these are not available with Amazon Prime 2-day shipping, so if you need to plan ahead, do so. Chances are, the mask you’re using to go to the grocery store will be uncomfortable when worn for an extended period. Many masks pull on the ears in such a way that will eventually case a headache. Additionally, if your mask’s material is overly dense, you may experience trouble breathing. Remember that we wear masks to help protect other people in case we have the virus, even though we may not currently be showing symptoms.
Focus on Stress Management
Returning to work can lead to feelings of uncertainty, which can cause added stress to the rigors of a job that may already be stressful. Help yourself out with self-care; there are many methods people use, and while you may benefit from incorporating all of them, some people prefer some over others. These methods range from regular exercise, mindfulness practice, a healthy diet, aromatherapy, and taking CBD for stress.
Continue Practicing Hygiene
Hopefully you’ve been focusing on elevated hygiene over the past few months. Don’t let your guard down! Continue washing your hands frequently and thoroughly. Try not to touch your face, especially with unwashed hands. You can find these and many other tips on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website.
Keep Customer Contact to a Minimum
There are many ways that customer-facing businesses are helping to keep customer contact to a minimum. Many are encouraging non-cash payments, along with placing sneeze-guards in between customers and cashiers. In the case of hair salons, only one client is allowed in per stylist at a time. Restaurants are still operating at fractional capacity.
Don’t Resort to Hysteria
It’s an important part of being an adult to be able to differentiate between fact-based reporting and sensationalism. Remember that most news outlets exist to sell advertising; it may be in their best interests to spin the facts to try to make the news more exciting or scary in the hopes that you’ll stay tuned through the commercials. Dig deep outside of the usual broadcast and look for actual science rather than hearsay. Avoiding the hysteria will help you make rational decisions, and this goes back to helping you manage stress, as well.
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