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How to mentally prepare for going back to work in-person

Many people have developed some anxiety about returning to work at the office, so a psychologist has some tips to make it easier.

TAMPA, Fla. — As more and more people get vaccinated, we're seeing more conversations about returning to life pre-pandemic. That includes returning to work in the office for many people.

Sitting in traffic and working in close proximity to other people is ushering in what some are calling re-entry anxiety. It's easy to see why people feel anxious about returning to crowded workspaces when we've spent much of the last year making sure we're adequately distanced from other people.

Others are worried about potential health risks about going back to work as some people choose to not get vaccinated or unable to and others disregard safety protocols. 

Psychologist Dr. Jessica Borushok says it's not going to be a smooth transition back to the office for many people and that's absolutely okay. She suggests embracing the new changes you'll see at work.

"The people who are going to adjust the best are the ones who are not expecting for things to go back to how they were, but those who are taking steps toward building up a new life."

Classrooms will look different for your students and your workplaces may have undergone a transformation. You may find more distancing, more masks and more plexiglass. Expect things to get overwhelming as you hear more conversations about re-entry, deal with questions about the health risks you may encounter, and how to adjust your schedule again.

 Dr. Borushok says you need to check in with yourself and your family often about how you're feeling.

"It's really important that while we are having fun talking about what might happen we are staying focused on what's in our control right here, right now," said Dr. Borushok. 

One thing you can control is your plan. Look at what you're comfortable with and how it lines up with plans at work. If you have major concerns, make your voice heard and have honest conversations with your boss. Create a plan with your family about how to dole out responsibilities at home so you're not overwhelmed both at home and work.

Another thing she suggests is having open conversations. Talk to friends and family who may be experiencing the same issues. If you want, seek a professional to help you process these experiences. In all of this, make sure you're taking everything just one step at a time.

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