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Tips for Decreasing the Stress of Social Distancing at the Office

Though returning to work is an encouraging sign that life may be getting back to normal, it is a slow and somewhat ugly process. Complying to social distancing itself is stressful enough, but many people now feel the added pressure of practicing social distancing as they go back to the office. More and more companies are calling employees back to their original workplaces under strict instructions to keep their distance from coworkers, wear masks and ensure that their hands remain spotless at all times.

Being diligent about taking COVID-19 precautions is easy enough from the comfort of your own home. However, implementing this new normal of both social distancing and working in-office is creating a higher level of fear and stress.

In order to ease the anxiety of returning to the workplace, try following these guidelines for dealing with stress during this ‘new normal’.

Mental Wellbeing:

Maintaining positive mental health is imperative for creating a stress-free work environment. It’s easier said than done, but there are a few simple ways to de-stress while in the office.

  • Suggest to your manager or boss that you be allowed to ease into your workplace by coming in twice a week to start with, or even every other day. Then gradually increase your time spent working in the office as apposed to at home.

  • Take time for short meditation programs, such as Zen12. Thinking exercises also keep your mind calm and relaxed, but still on track.

  • Remember all that extra time you spent reading while at home? Don’t give that up. Make time for books, even as your schedule gets busier.

Physical Wellbeing:

Don’t neglect your physical health. While mental health is a given for performing effectively in the office, physical exercise and nutrition is often forgotten. Take steps to get active during office hours, and be intentional about what you feed your body.

  • It may be awkward at first, but do exercises or stretches at your desk. This is a great stress reliever and keeps the blood pumping.

  • Go for an occasional walk during your breaks. Get outside if you can and enjoy a different atmosphere for a few minutes, before getting back to the grind.

  • Take a little extra time in the morning to make healthy snacks to munch on periodically throughout your day. Healthy food will keep your brain healthy and your body strong. It’s simple knowledge, but only works if it’s applied.

Social Wellbeing:

Most people are feeling the weight of the strain that social distancing puts on relationships. Don’t let this add to your stress. Remember, it’s really physical distancing not social distancing.

  • Call a friend or family member on your break. Maybe going home for lunch is an option for you. Take advantage of that and spend time with those at home, because you're one of the lucky ones.

  • Communicate with coworkers at a distance. Social interaction doesn’t need to come to a halt within your office. Though it is a good idea to limit those you interact with, do not avoid your coworkers altogether. After all, you are all in the same boat.

  • Shut off your work when you get home. Turn off your phone and close your laptop. It may be difficult, but it’s worth it. Don’t bring the extra stress home.

This short list of tips is by no means exhaustive. However, pinpointing these three areas of your wellbeing is a helpful way to turn your focus away from stress. Taking more frequent breaks to spend time on simple activities that will increase your health is important. If you stick to these tips, you will begin to see your stress decrease. Not only that, your ability to work effectively and efficiently in the workplace will increase. 


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