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Back to work, but not as you know it!

Back to work, but not as you know it!

We have seen the reopening and in some cases the re-closing of the hospitality sector in Scotland. Quite a momentous period, following a full closure of about 4 months. It is however becoming clear that not all businesses are able to open, operating under government guidelines, when is a café not a café, the social distancing perhaps has reduced the capacity to a level that makes it unviable to trade. In addition it imposed the added expense of the PPE, perspex sheeting and signage advising guests of the one-way system and how to behave. As I cycle around the city it is still a little spooky and obvious to see which premises have chosen to remain closed, with boarded windows still in place.

For staff returning to work, it is a daunting experience, is it going to be safe? Has their employer taken all the necessary steps to ‘risk assess’ the venue and provide appropriate support for the team? I am seeing staff wearing face coverings, some with visors and masks, for their shift front of house. It reminds us of how the brave staff in the NHS must feel, wearing masks continuously for their shift, a most uncomfortable and irritating feeling, but essential for the safety of all.

It is a time of heightened anxiety and stress, are you still employed under furlough, will you be re-employed, will you be made redundant, where will your next income come from, all questions that are not necessarily easy to answer for many. This anxiety is a trauma, that requires to be treated and supported, as any other trauma would be. When these feelings persist, they can affect our daily life and lead to emotional distress.

Most people feel anxious at times. It’s particularly common to experience some anxiety while coping with stressful events or changes, especially if they could have a big impact on your life.

Some people may recover in a few weeks on their own, while others need more help and support.

It’s important to recognise the signs and symptoms of stress and anxiety early. These can include:

  • irritability
  • dizziness and headaches
  • problems sleeping
  • dry mouth
  • changes in your eating habits
  • low self esteem
  • problems concentrating
  • temper outbursts
  • muscle tension and pain
  • tearful episodes

Recognising these signs will help you figure out ways of coping and save you from adopting unhealthy coping methods, such as turning to an excess of alcohol or drugs.

There are several treatments available, depending on how severe the anxiety is. It is hoped that it does not lead to prescribed medication, there are self-help resources, that would be the first step to manage the feelings.

Breaking the “stress cycle” is important, negative thoughts create feelings and emotions, it makes you feel bad and leads to responsive behavior. This can lead to reinforcing the negative thoughts. You need to break the cycle by paying attention to your negative thoughts and turn them into positive ones, this will lead to positive behaviours.

By managing the internal stressors, (things we have control over), we can develop a positive mindset.

1 Make a list of the internal stressors

2 Come up with 3 things that that you can do differently and take back control of your mindset and manage your expectations

Looking after your wellbeing is also a great first step.

  • Keep busy • Keep up a routine • Keep in touch • Do things you enjoy • Stay safe