Are You Ready for Re-entry?

Getting back to old routines may not be as easy as it seems!

Most of my blogs are inspired by conversations with clients and learners.  While we are well recognised for our training, leadership and career development courses, behind the scenes, we’re much more than that.  We help individuals and companies to solve problems, drive innovation and most importantly move with the times. So why am I writing about re-entry? In my lifetime re-entry was a term used to describe a spaceship returning from it’s mission in space.  As a young child I watched with excitement and trepidation the Apollo 11 mission setting off for it’s historic moon landing in 1969 and wondering if the astronauts would ever return to their families.  Re-entry to the Post Covid workplace means something different, however this re-entry to the ‘next normal’ is presenting significant anxiety, worry and uncertainty for many people.  For the purpose of this blog I will focus on the human aspect; I plan to talk about the effects of re-entry on businesses in a later blog. The range of anxieties that have been shared with me include:

  • Change of routines and less home/family time
  • Schooling and childcare
  • My business model has changed causing disruptions to pre-covid schedules – this is especially true in the hospitality, retail and service industries
  • My business is no longer viable
  • New types of employment ‘I’m not qualified to do’
  • The rise of the ‘gig’ economy

This is by no means an exhaustive list as this situation and responses are unique and different for everyone; these are just some examples. The problems that are being reported range from ‘I can’t get staff, my job no longer exists, if I lose my job I’m not qualified to do anything else to I really don’t want to re-enter the ‘rat race’ but what can I do? I can’t claim to have all the answers, but I can say that supporting clients to plan and take action for the future is at the heart of our business. So what can you do to take action for your future as you prepare for re-entry?  I have come up with some simple actions that you can take that will help you to ‘get your ducks in a row’ and make considered choices when it comes to future planning.

Get your ducks in a row first!

Take Stock

I’m a great believer in taking stock every now and then; taking stock is the first step towards action.  The old fashioned method of starting with a blank page with a line down the middle works for me every time. Whatever your plans are write down the positives on one side and the negatives on the other side – seeing your ideas on paper is a very powerful method of action planning.  If you want to drill down a bit deeper you can do a SWOT analysis which will help you to identify the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats related to your future plan.

Don’t sweat the small stuff

Many years ago I read a tiny book by Dr Richard Carlson entitled ‘Don’t sweat the small stuff’ which inspired me to think differently about problems and solutions. Remember to rationalise your anxieties and rate them according to their level of importance and the level of impact they might have in any given situation. If we bundle our concerns in a single bubble we run the risk of increasing our anxieties and our problems will seem insurmountable.

Manage your Stressors

Psychologists are telling us that it is completely normal to feel anxiety about returning to old routines; the symptoms and signs are well documented. Some things that you can do to support yourself and your loved ones through the transition are:

  • Firstly be honest and open about how you are feeling and check in with yourself regularly.
  • List all the things you are looking forward to when you return to work – write them down! Could it be that you will be thrilled to demolish that pop-up office you have in your spare bedroom?
  • Work out what is causing the most anxiety  and prioritise the things you want to hold on to outside of work once you return. 
  • Talk it out; remember ‘a burden shared is a burden halved’; guaranteed your work colleagues will be feeling the same as you are.

Practice Gratitude

Expressing gratitude is said to have a positive effect on how we feel.  Robert Emmons PhD one of the world’s leading experts on the science of gratitude tells us that a deliberate effort to name and embrace things that we are grateful for can have a significantly positive effect on our wellbeing.  You may not wish to keep a gratitude journal which Emmons recommends from his research but there are simple things that you can do to enhance your view of the present.

  • Don’t just list the things you are grateful for – take some time to understand why you are grateful and how this makes you feel.
  • Distinguish between people & things – identifying the people for whom you are grateful amplifies the psychological and emotional effects of the exercise. It can also be useful to note what your life would be like without this person or this group of people in it.
  • Celebrate the unexpected – note events or occurrences that you weren’t expecting – these events are likely to give you a nice surge of oxytocin and thus improve how you are feeling almost instantly.
  • Keep it simple, don’t overdo it – build a small gratitude routine into your week. Check in with gratitude three or four times in the week – you will be surprised by the results.

Finally if you need to add more structure to your life due to re-entry I suggest that you click on this earlier blog I wrote about Setting Smart Goals.

If you wish to enquire about anything mentioned in this blog you can reach out to us at www.newlinkstraining.com my email is janet@newlinkstraining.com or you can call us directly on 051 385720.