COVID-19 has affected us all in different ways and we are treading new ground each day when it comes to both our professional and personal lives. Now with the end of lockdown in sight, we realise that you may need help with preparing for life after lockdown. This 5 step ‘how to guide’ will give you the first necessary steps to get back into the swing of things.
1. Fix your sleep-cycle and create routine
A useful way to start preparing for returning to work is to begin to re-introduce structure and routine to your daily life. Doing this before you return to work can help make the transition easier. You can start by fixing your sleep-cycle.
What time would you normally get up for work? Begin by setting your alarm and getting yourself out of bed at this time every day (or the days of the week you would typically work).
Go through your morning routine – showering, dressing, eating breakfast, etc. – as if you were going to go to work. Go to bed as if you have to work the next day. Plan your bedtime so that you will have enough sleep.
2. Start planning and prioritising daily tasks
Add structure to your day. Plan activities in advance, and keep a schedule. This can include things like grocery shopping, household chores, and exercising, as well as the specific things you are doing to prepare for your return to work – the trick is to schedule activities at particular times, and then stick to your schedule. Doing this will help make your days more active and structured.
You can then gradually start adding more activities into your day. Try to fill your days. Add tasks that you have been avoiding or ones that you “haven’t quite got to yet”.
3. Exercise your body and your brain
There is growing evidence that regular exercise helps improve mood. It can also be a great stress reliever. It doesn’t have to be a major work out - It can be as simple as going for a brisk walk! Just get your heart and muscles moving.
Not only is exercising your body important, but you should also start working your brain. Helping your brain to ‘get active’ again will help prepare you for work.
Some ideas for sharpening your brain:
• Do crossword puzzles and word searches
• Play board games or card games with friends or family members that you’re isolating with
• Start reading
• Write letters or emails to friends and/or family
4. De-clutter your workspaces
Simply decluttering and tidying your working landscape can help re-orient your mindset. This will help you feel more put together, psychologically, as you’re able to find what you need, when you need it. A refreshed workspace will also do wonders for boosting your productivity, creativity and mood.
Don’t forget to also de-clutter your car that you may use to commute to work, as well as, your work bag, laptop and phone.
5. Ease your way back into work
It's not a race. Ease your way in to your first day by taking some time beforehand to plan out your day. Focus on doing what you know how to do, and what requires the least amount of time.
Starting with small tasks can boost your confidence. Remember, you're taking one step at a time.
Top Tip: Schedule 30 mins of ‘email time’ into each morning so you can catch up.
Remember whilst at work to keep to the government guidelines, this includes washing your hands regularly, cleaning and disinfecting your workspaces, and keeping a 2m social distance wherever you can.