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Published on July 14, 2020

COVID-19 and the Anxiety of Returning to Work After Quarantine

COVID-19 forced some employees to work in other areas of their company, take time away from work or work from home. In all of these situations, many aspects of individual’s lives were affected, creating feelings such as a loss of control and worries about personal, professional and financial futures.

Further, it’s possible that some of us working from home or in other areas were just settling into a routine that was becoming comfortable, and we were enjoying this new work environment.

Whether you had become comfortable or not, most likely re-entering your original workplace is giving you pause. You may feel uncertain about new routines, and uncertainties about safety related to COVID-19. Here are some of the issues that may be on your mind, and thoughts that may help quell some feelings of anxiety as we return to our workplaces.


The community and employers have taken precautions to ensure your safety. You would not be returning to your work environment if it was not deemed safe to do so. Things may be different in terms of the work environment for the foreseeable future but try to accept that these differences are keeping you and your co-workers safe during this unprecedented time. You can gain control back by following the rules and guidelines put in place by your employer and letting go of your concerns, knowing you have followed all of the recommended and required safety guidelines.


It is important that you take control of your self-care. You may feel that you have lost control of many things over the past several months but it is important to realize the things you can control, and to take full advantage of these things. Make a list of the things you can control at work such as break-time or activities, and people you can talk to for support. It’s important to take care of yourself at all times and to build resilience and manage stress daily. Follow these tips outlined by the CDC:

Positive Routine

In addition to self-care it can be helpful to establish a positive routine for yourself. Try following a daily schedule before and after work that includes activities that you enjoy, and that provide positive energy to help you throughout your workday and beyond. It is important to engage in physical activity – whatever you enjoy. If you like to walk and go to parks then schedule a daily walk in the park. It’s also crucial to eat healthfully every day. Finally, establish a sleep routine and stick to it seven days a week if possible.

Asking for Help

Sometimes no matter how hard we try to take good care of ourselves, we succumb to anxiety. Some levels of stress and anxiety are normal. However, if you have symptoms that are affecting your job, relationships and other aspects of your life, please consider getting professional help. These symptoms include: feeling nervous, restless, tense, having a sensing of impending danger, increased heart rate, rapid breathing, sweating, trembling, feeling tired and weak, trouble concentrating, sleeplessness, GI problems or avoiding things that trigger your anxiety.

If you are unsure of your symptoms you can take a free online screening here. This anonymous screening will help and connect you with resources. There is hope, help and healing available for your symptoms.

Bryan Medical Center Resources

Bryan Independence Center: alcohol and substance use evaluations and treatment options. Complete a free, confidential online screening. For more information, call 402-481-5268, ext. 15268 or visit our web page.

Bryan Counseling Center: mental health services to help you through difficult times. Visit our web page for more information or call 402-481-5991 to schedule an appointment.

dave miers

About Dr. Dave Miers

Dave Miers, PhD, is director of behavioral health services at Bryan Medical Center in Lincoln, Nebraska.

He helped establish the Nebraska State Suicide Prevention Coalition in 1999 and chaired/co-chaired this Coalition until 2017. He currently serves on the Board of Directors. Dr. Miers is a member of the leadership group for the Lincoln/Lancaster County Suicide Prevention Coalition. Dr. Miers has published research and co-authored a chapter in the Routledge International Handbook of Clinical Suicide Research focusing on family survivors of a child suicide. Dr. Miers helped develop the Lincoln Lancaster Local Outreach to Suicide Survivors (LOSS) team in Lincoln, Neb. He also helped develop other LOSS teams in Nebraska and is active with LOSS team development on a national level.


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