Following the easing of restrictions, for some of us we are heading back to the office. This should be a cause for celebration and excitement but the reality is after months of isolation and only seeing a minimum of people, heading back out can seem daunting and stressful.
This is completely understandable and there is no onus to be that person that’s totally cool with everything. We have all been through a trauma and we need to take it slowly and be accepting of ourselves and however we feel.
The more we can reduce feelings of stress and anxiety the better as we know that stress can effect our immune system and right now we want our immune systems working for us not against.
Here are some top tips to make the commute calmer and smoother.
1. Stay in the present moment
The more you can be in the here and now rather than worrying about every potential thing that could go wrong the better for your peace of mind and for your journey.
– Focus on your breathing
When you connect with your breathing that is a gateway into the present moment and allows your thoughts to quieten down.
– Focus on each step you take
Feel your feet as they touch the ground, this is a mindful practise that again brings your attention out of your head and the spiral of thoughts back into the present moment.
2. Visualise protection around yourself
What we say to ourselves and what we imagine carries a lot of weight for example if we say to ourselves, ‘I feel exposed, I feel unsafe, I feel nervous’ that will further accelerate those feelings, so here we will do the opposite to feel empowered and in control.
– Visualise a bubble of protection around you that is 2 metres in front, behind, to the left, to the right, above you and below you.
You can also imagine an invisibility cloak (if you feel like being Harry Potter about it!) or a force field, or a shield, whatever works for you.
– Use affirming statements in your mind such as:
I am protected
My energy is my own
No harmful bacteria or negative energy can come near me now
I am safe
3. Use the Box Breath for stress & anxiety
When you do feel anxious or stressed, perhaps someone comes close or you see the crowd and it scares you, you feel your breathing quicken and get shorter try this breathing technique.
The box breath is a technique is used by yogis, navy seals, police, first responders, and high performance athletes to calm the nervous system and focus the mind, because it is such a powerful stress reliever.
– Inhale 4 seconds
– Hold the breath 4 seconds
– Exhale 4 seconds
– Hold the breath 4 seconds
Repeat for 3 to 5 minutes or until you feel calmer.
*It’s important to breathe through your nose if you can, and breathe from the diaphragm.
*Breathe in belly rises, hold, breath out belly falls
4. Focus on yourself and no-one else
There is the temptation to look at other people and worry about their behaviour, ‘He isn’t wearing a mask or she isn’t keeping her distance.’
– Try not to focus on what other people are doing, especially if they are not following the rules, this will only make you more stressed
– Bring your awareness back to yourself, to the present moment and remember that everyone has their own story and stuff that they are dealing with, and it is very unlikely that anyone would want to intentionally upset you.
5. Remember the JOY
Where attention goes, energy flows and if all of our attention is on the negative aspects of commuting and returning to work then we will feel really low.
– Focus on the positives of getting back out there
– Which colleagues are you looking forward to seeing again?
– Is it nice to have some space from your homelife and a change of scene?
Finally just remember to be really kind to yourself and take it slow, and if it’s too much then get in touch with your employer and let them know how you are feeling.
To help your teams cope with the commute and returning to work you may wish to consider this workshop:
Workshop – Techniques to help with commuting and returning to the office
Contact Alex at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information