How to lessen anxiety from going back to the office

Singapore residents heading to work

You’re not alone if you’re worried about going back to the office on 3 January because of social anxiety.

Since September 2021, when the number of COVID-19 cases in Singapore began to grow, teleworking has been the norm. However, from this year onwards, 50% of employees who have been completely vaccinated or those who have been discharged from COVID-19 will be permitted to return to work.

Many people are feeling uneasy especially since the time is nearing. After long stretches of remote work and just seeing our existing and new colleagues on screen, the prospect of seeing everyone again in person might be daunting.

Fear can manifest itself in a variety of ways depending on the individual. While one may have panic attacks, the other might have recurring nightmares. Continue reading to learn how to lessen anxiety from going back to the office.


Mindfulness may be an excellent strategy to cope with anxiety, and even as a panic disorder relaxation treatment. This meditation practice can help you settle your physical and mental aspects by slowing down intrusive thoughts, reducing pessimism, and calming your soul.

You might be shocked at how difficult it is to stay still when you first start meditating. But the idea is to merely monitor the mind rather than to evaluate it. Start with short sessions to develop a feel for the practice. You may then progressively extend your duration once you’ve established a more consistent, comfortable routine. It’s also crucial to meditate in a quiet location where you won’t be disturbed.

Pen it down

The practice of maintaining a log of your own emotions, sensations, and discoveries is known as journaling. Writing or drawing about your emotions has been connected to a reduction in mental anguish. It can undoubtedly assist you in breaking free from the never-ending loop of incessantly pondering and lamenting over the tension of returning to your workplace.

Researchers discovered that persons with varied medical illnesses and anxiety who wrote on the web for 15 minutes 3 times a week for 3 months felt better and had fewer depressive symptoms after a month. Throughout the months of writing, their mental health was strengthened.

Try aromatherapy
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Essential oils extracted from plant parts such as roots, fruits, and flowers are used in aromatherapy for anxiety. There are physiological benefits when such oils are breathed or absorbed via the skin.

Essential oils are available in a wide range of qualities, from pure ones to diluted options with lesser costly substances. As there may be no regulations, the label on the bottle you’re purchasing might not identify all the elements that are in it. Thus, essential oils should not be consumed. Keep in mind also that fragrance or perfume oils are created wholly from chemicals or essential oils blended with chemicals. They’re not appropriate for aromatherapy, so seek bottles containing only 100% essential oils.

Have sufficient sleep

Anxiety is usually linked to sleep disturbances. Excessive anxiety and terror can make it difficult for you to enter dreamland and stay deep asleep. Lack of sleep, unfortunately, can exacerbate anxiousness, resulting in a vicious cycle of sleeplessness and distress problems.

Due to the complex link between anxiety and sleep, obtaining a sufficient amount of shuteye may help you feel less anxious. Quality of sleep encompasses both your sleeping patterns and the surroundings in which you sleep in. Keeping your bed more cozy and reducing sources of sleep disturbances such as light and noise are two ways to enhance proper rest. Excessive caffeine and alcohol should also be avoided after noon, and we shall discuss this further later in the next point.

Limit caffeine and alcohol intake

You may think you need a great deal of coffee to get back in the game, or a glass of wine to bury your tension. However, combining coffee and alcohol may exacerbate anxiety symptoms, as well as have dangerous effects if you are on medication.

Before you realize it, consuming too much coffee in the day might lead to you drinking alcohol at night to mask the caffeine’s impacts on sleep. Even though alcohol may make you doze off faster, it can diminish the sleep patterns your brain needs to operate properly. Alcohol can exacerbate depressive symptoms and make you more prone to drinking in the future. Don’t start such habits!

Stay socially connected
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According to research, an absence of social interaction poses a higher health risk than obesity, smoking, or high blood pressure. On the other hand, establishing a powerful emotional network increases your chances of living longer by 50%.

Anxiety and despair are lower among those who feel more connected to others. Furthermore, studies suggest that they have better self-esteem, are far more empathetic, trustworthy, and collaborative. This signals that your colleagues will be more receptive to trusting and working with you as a result too.

We are innately sociable beings that stem from a need to be liked and to stay connected with our fellow human beings. One of our most basic needs is social interaction, and it has a significant influence on our emotional stability.


Try meditating to beat stress and anxiety

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Way before the pandemic started, stress and anxiety have been around for a long time.

People from the past may have led simpler lives, but that doesn’t mean the absence from pressure. That is why meditation is said to have originated from around 1500 BCE in India.

All of us cope with stress differently. For some, it may be engaging in a physically exhausting activity and just sleeping it off. While for others, maybe it is to draw away from the crowd to find some quiet time.

If that is you, how do you spend your quiet time? Do you tend to overthink things and get more anxious with every passing minute? Perhaps you have heard of meditation but haven’t gotten started yet. The good thing is that it’s not that difficult to begin.

“You don’t need equipment, you can do it from your home, you don’t need anyone else,” said Luke McLeod, the founder and teacher at Soul Alive. Ready to kickstart your journey to relaxation? Allow us to share with you these five simple steps.

#1: Find your safe space

While your home can be the quickest place to get started on meditation, it’s not the only option. This is the case especially with noisy neighbours or crying kids at home. But wherever that safe space might be, put on your noise-cancelling earbuds with meditation music and close your eyes to relax.

#2: Release tension

Tension and relaxation aren’t best friends. Peeps who find it hard to keep your eyes closed, it’s time to release stress from your body. If you’re lying down on a mat, you can do so by rolling your shoulders back and turning your head from side to side slowly.

#3: Focus on breathing
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The idea here is to take three rounds of long and deep breaths. The cycle can start with a steady rush of air to your lungs for eight counts. Then, hold your breath for another eight counts before releasing it for another eight.

After you’re done with the three rounds, breathe normally. Now’s the time to focus on your next breathing exercise. By that, we mean every slight minor sensation from the moment the air enters your nostrils to the temperature change as it goes into your lungs. Feel your belly expand and repeat this routine eight times.

#4: Shift your focus

As you continue to breathe normally after the previous routine, shift your focus from your breathing to the different parts of your body.

You can start introducing energy to your body by wiggling your toes, contracting your calve muscles, and your butt. Then begin to move your fingers, shoulders, and turn your head from side to side to warm up your neck.

#5: Take time to be thankful

Your body should be recharged as we enter the final stage. But before you get up and go about your daily routine, take time to be thankful. With your eyes still closed, think of someone or something you are grateful for.

Put on a smile as you slowly open your eyes. If you’re lying down, roll to your left side and place your right hand on the floor as you push yourself up with the help of your left elbow. Lefties can feel free to roll onto their right side.

Take a little stretch before you get moving, and remember to schedule your next meditation session!


Try these strategies to counter anxiety

a woman with anxiety

The words “anxiety” and “panic” are often used interchangeably, especially among laymen. Though both terms have similarities, they are two different conditions according to medical professionals.

But that’s not the ultimate aim of this article, though it’s vital that we know the differences between them. Anxiety usually arises as a result of worry, stress, or an influence that causes both. On the other hand, panic attacks do not happen because of such triggers and may just come by “out of the blue”.

For those who think they may be suffering from severe panic attacks, we advise you to seek help from a mental health professional. As for those with anxieties, you may want to try these strategies to counter your uneasiness.

#1: Get moving

Exercising causes your brain to release chemicals called endorphins that aid us in feeling good. It can alter our mood for the better, which is why we often feel more relaxed and less stressed after a good workout.

Anxiety sufferers should engage in exercising as often as possible because there are tremendous benefits. For one, exercise is negatively associated with anxiety. The more consistent you are with your workout routine, the less anxious you might feel over the long term.

#2: Gamify your stressors

Gamifying a stressor is the mental process of converting an anxiety-inducing task into a more fun situation.

For instance, you have a pending assignment that makes you feel anxious. Why not turn it into a competition with yourself? Break the work down into small bits and find out how quickly you can achieve each mini task. When you succeed, remember to reward yourself!

Or, if you constantly feel stressed over your monthly presentations to the management, try wearing something comical under your formal workwear when the day arrives. It could be a skintight superman t-shirt or a colourful pair of socks to lift your mood instantly.

#3: Pen down your thoughts
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Anxiety can happen due to non-stop racing thoughts. When you find yourself getting trapped in a mental loop, penning down what bothers you can be a very effective way to offload it from your consciousness. 

Interestingly, experts have hypothesised that the average person now remembers fewer things because of the ease with which we can look up information on the internet. Now, you can do the same with a journal. Write down your anxious thoughts somewhere, and let your brain offload them as you let the ink flow. Make it a habit to do so frequently or set a specific time to develop a routine.

#4: Stay hydrated

When work gets busy, it’s easy to forget our meals or stay hydrated. While most people are not dehydrated to the point of needing medical attention, it is fair to say that the average person does not drink eight glasses of water daily.

Dehydration can lead to symptoms such as bad headaches as a result of slower blood and oxygen flow to the brain. With that said, the loss of blood flow to the brain can exacerbate your anxiety numbness, which you want to avoid.

#5: Engage in positivity

We have more control over our minds than we think, and one of the most effective ways to reduce anxiety is to begin rewiring yourself for positivity. Have you realised that it starts to snowball when you allow one lousy thought to enter your mind?

When you find yourself entertaining negative thoughts, redirect yourself and find something nice to say. Thinking more positively, in general, is likely to improve your anxiety and your general outlook on life. 

#6: Observe your social environment
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While being positive helps, it is sometimes hard to maintain that attitude if surrounded by relentlessly or persistently negative people.

Yes, we all have that one co-worker who is always gossiping about someone else. That same colleague could also be a friend or family member who complains non-stop about his or her life. While we obviously can’t disengage from our co-workers or cut off contacts completely, it’s possible to be aware and adjust your exposure with them accordingly.

#7: Find a healthy distraction

Sometimes when anxiety visits, we seek solitude to be with our thoughts or remove ourselves from a stimulating environment. This can be an excellent mechanism to cope at times, but it can also work against us when we allow our thoughts to take over.

Finding a way to distract yourself when you feel anxious can help minimise those thumping thoughts and regain your focus. While meeting friends or picking up a new hobby may help, introverts can sometimes feel overwhelmed with such activities.

If that is you, why not try spring cleaning as an effective distractor? Engaging in the act helps us alter and clean our physical environment, which is also therapeutic. On days when you don’t feel like cleaning, how about solving a puzzle or playing a simple game?

By limiting the amount of time anxiety creeps up on you, you can reclaim your mind control and strengthen your stress control muscle. All will be well again!


7 Efficient Ways To Cope With Money Stress

1. Whether it is dealing with your horrific credit card balance or realizing that you are barely crossing retirement, it is important to recognize what causes your anxiety. Spare at least 10 minutes of your time to write down your greatest financial problems at the moment.

2. Avoid making matters worse! Rather than being consumed by your negativity, keep a positive mindset. Your “stress umbrella” decreases as you take necessary actions. Believe that you can do it!

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3. If your financial woes come from the anticipation of unfortunate events, you are not alone! Many people exaggerate this act of anticipation. This is why you need to be involved with the present. Mindfulness in your current financial circumstance is the key.

4. Who says change is always easy? I recommend that you start with small changes to ease the transition. Employ seemingly small steps to restructure your finances. Move on to bigger changes, once you are completely settled. It is alright to experiences some bumps along the way. You may commit mistakes for a week but, remember to stick to your realistic plan.

5. A realistic plan includes a working budget. Figure out what you actually spend per day by writing your expenses down or by tracking them with the help of an app. Use these information to cut unnecessary expenses.

6. Saying that you do not make enough money is an excuse! Boost your wealth by making the most of the income you have. Spend your income wisely.

7. After everything has been said and done, your last resort is seeking professional help. A number of experts offer free consultations or reduced rates for their services. For instance, you may type “debt services Singapore” in a search engine and browse what comes up. Choose a company that seems reputable through online reviews and peer opinions.

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Sources: 1 &2