Managing fear of infection as you return to the physical community

You are here

Many places around the world are looking to lift or partially lift pandemic restrictions. As businesses start to reopen and people return to the workplace, COVID-19 will not have gone away. While some people may happily and easily try to get “back to normal”, it is understandable that some will have concerns and feelings of apprehension. There are things you can do help manage your fears as post-pandemic life begins.

Stay informed

Stick to the facts communicated by public health agencies, medical professionals and lawmakers. Always go to reliable sources for your information, such as the World Health Organization, Public Health Agency of Canada, or the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as your government and local health authority websites. Understanding the facts — even if they are a bit scary — is better than letting anxieties grow due to the lack of knowledge.

Put it in perspective

Understand what is happening and how it relates to your situation. Just because restrictions are being lifted, your organization may choose to delay the reopening of your workplace. If parks or other public spaces in your area are open again, it does not mean you have to go. Easing restrictions may be happening to help certain sectors and may have no direct impact on your day-to-day life during the pandemic.

Stay cautious

It is OK to err on the side of caution. You may be dealing with challenges and feelings that you do not understand. It is still important to follow the prevention tips recommended by your local heath authority, such as maintaining physical distancing and stringent hand washing. For more suggestions of how to protect yourself, read our article on Tips to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.

Ask for help

If you are having trouble managing your anxiety, ask for help. This could range from asking someone to run errands for you if you are not comfortable going into busy places, to talking to a friend to get their perspective, to seeking professional help from a mental health professional or a counsellor at your assistance program if you are feeling overwhelmed.

Do’s and don’ts as restrictions are lifted

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use hand sanitizer with at least 70% alcohol, if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Continue to follow guidelines from authorities about using public spaces and following prevention guidelines.
  • Clean frequently touched objects and surfaces in your work area, including keyboards, phones, handrails and doorknobs.
  • Stay home if you are sick, except to get medical care. You may also want to consider telemedicine or digital healthcare options available so that you can remain at home while seeking medical care.
  • Know what to expect of yourself. You may experience a variety of emotions. Talking about your feelings with someone you trust is a healthy way to process this evolving situation.  
  • Continue to take care of yourself. Eat well, get plenty of rest and exercise, and remain digitally connected with those closest to you.

Access your Wellbeing and Employee Assistance Program 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at workhealthlife.com or login.lifeworks.com.