Curbing stress and anxiety in the new normal workplace


Even as COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, it will not be business as usual in the typical workplace. Experts at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center say taking precautions like wearing masks is important to stop the spread of the virus as well as to help employees feel safe.

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Ohio State Univeristy/KCAU) – As COVID-19 restrictions lift and more Americans return to the workplace after weeks of working from home or unemployment, the transition may cause fear and anxiety.  Experts at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and Ohio State’s College of Nursing say it’s important to take precautions to avoid infection and find ways to manage the stress of transitioning back to the workplace after weeks of isolation.

“Challenges will remain as businesses reopen, and the typical workplace will look very different following this pandemic. We’re going to have to find new ways to connect with colleagues and work as a team while maintaining our distance and preventing the spread of infection,”  said Dr. K. Luan Phan, chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health at Ohio State. 

Virtual meetings will still be a helpful tool as Americans return to the workplace and physical distancing continues to be an important precautionary measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Precautions like taking every employee’s temperature upon arrival, providing masks, keeping workspaces at least six feet apart and being vigilant about wiping down surfaces are important to preventing the spread of the virus, but those actions can also make everyone feel safer. 

“For example, you wash your hands for at least 20 seconds, take the opportunity to take five deep, abdominal breaths. Doing this at least five times a day can reduce anxiety and even lower your blood pressure,” said Bernadette Melnyk, dean of the College of Nursing and Chief Wellness Officer at Ohio State. 

In addition to stress relief, healthy lifestyle choices like exercising daily, eating a healthy diet, and getting plenty of sleep can boost your immune system as well as staying home when you’re ill can help keep yourself and your co-workers healthy.

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