It’s been approximately 8 weeks since I’ve been to work and just like all of you, it’s been incredibly surreal not having any type of financial stability for the time being. Just this past weekend I was extremely lucky to have my employer announce we can return to work full time! Although only guaranteed for the next several weeks, it’s a weight off of my shoulders knowing I’ll have a steady income once again! But it’s not as simple as picking up and just showing up to the office like nothing happened.
As I’ve spent the last few days going in and out of the office, it’s been such an odd adjustment. Going from rarely leaving my apartment to suddenly having a full time position felt like a daunting blessing. I won’t sit here and say I’m not extremely lucky for being employed, but transitioning out of work pre quarantine to going BACK to work during quarantine is a lot to deal with considering the circumstances.
Not only is work starting again but word has been circulating of various states allowing a few businesses to open to the public. San Diego has even allowed its beaches to open, albeit not completely the same as before, but hey, it’s a start. I think the biggest fear about post quarantine life is the fact that it won’t be like pre quarantine life. I myself have bouts of anxiety knowing full well that simple trips to a mall, park, or even a restaurant will require strict rules and regulations.
I’m sure we all feel the same sentiment on some level, but given our current status, it doesn’t mean all life has gone down the drain. As we gear up for a soft opening of our country, it’s important to remember a few things in order to make this transition as safe as possible:
- You Are Not Above State Mandated Orders
I cannot fathom how someone can be entitled enough to feel that doing the bare minimum of keeping others’ safety in mind is an intrusion on their “freedom.” The state and country itself aren’t asking for a lot. It doesn’t take a doctorate degree to follow simple instructions of wearing a mask and social distancing. I get that it’s completely different from how we used to live, but like it or not, these are the cards we were dealt and we can either work with it or work against it.
- Just Because it’s Open, Doesn’t Mean it’s Okay
This past Mother’s Day I would’ve loved nothing more than to spend the day out with my family celebrating my mom. However, that wouldn’t have been the responsible thing to do. In Colorado, it seemed that notion didn’t phase one restaurant. C&C Breakfast and Korean Kitchen in Colorado decided to open their restaurant for Mother’s Day and was flooded with hundreds of customers with far too little of them wearing masks and absolutely ZERO social distancing. Is it the restaurant’s fault for opening? YES! But it also is on the customers as well. Having full knowledge of the current social climate, it’s horrendous that hundreds of Colorado citizens took it upon themselves to put others at risk by deliberately ignoring social distancing rules. Until your state officially gives the green light to eat out, shop, etc, it’s your job to follow their guidelines to ensure you keep you and your loved ones safe.
- Don’t Be Afraid to Voice Your Concerns at Work
Uncomfortable working in office? Say something! My philosophy right now is that if you’re going to force me to work in an office knowing I’d rather keep my distance to decrease my chances of contracting an illness, then it’s a company that puts profit before its people and isn’t worth being pushed around for. If working from home is possible best believe you should have the option to do so if you don’t feel safe being at work. Don’t be afraid to voice your opinion to put your health first. We’ve all been hit by the quarantine in one way or another and your safety is just as important as the next person. On the flip side, if you feel okay going back in office, take every precaution you can to ensure you’re doing your part to keep your coworkers safe. Wear your mask, wash your hands, and keep your distance.
- Going Back to Work Will Be Tiring
I worked out pretty consistently throughout my quarantine but I still felt beat at the end of my workday. The day dragged even though I was busy and I felt myself getting headaches throughout the day. I would walk to and from work 5 days a week, yet on my first day back to work I was so tired toward the end of the day I almost asked for a ride home. My theory is with things changing at a drop of a hat (i.e places opening and closing, working hours increasing and decreasing), we mentally and physically are always trying to play catch up. Treat yourself with some compassion. So, you haven’t been as active for a while or maybe you’ve been hyper active and are needing to slow down, either way, cut yourself some slack. If working a full day takes a lot out of you, take small breaks throughout the day and if you have to, speak with your employer about how you’re adjusting, they may offer some advice or alternatives to help you transition.
- Keep In Mind That We Will Open Again
Eventually, in a different way than before, but eventually, shops, restaurants, theme parks, etc, are all going to open up again. Disneyland in Shanghai already opened their park last week! Although China is vastly different from America, it’s a beautiful reminder that the world is on its way to opening up again. It may not be as fast as you like, but it’s not forever. This is a temporary pause, but one we will get through so long as we take precautions now and follow safety protocols.