top of page

Coping with Post Pandemic Work Stress: Strategies for Managing Stress and Anxiety in the Workplace.

Updated: Jul 27, 2023

Key Points

  1. Understanding Stress: Explore the definition, causes, and effects of post-pandemic work stress and anxiety in the workplace. Learn about the physiological and psychological processes triggered by stress and the impact it can have on physical and mental health.

  2. Managing Stress: Discover effective strategies for managing post-pandemic work stress, including establishing healthy routines, developing coping methods, seeking professional help, creating a supportive work environment, and promoting overall wellness.

  3. Implementing Coping Strategies: Learn how to develop healthy routines and coping strategies to effectively manage stress. Discover problem-focused and emotion-focused coping techniques and the importance of seeking professional assistance for stress management.

  4. Creating a Supportive Work Environment: Understand the significance of promoting a supportive work environment to protect the mental health of employees. Explore strategies such as open communication, providing resources, and fostering a work atmosphere that prioritizes wellness and stress management.

  5. Promoting Wellness: Learn about the importance of promoting overall wellness in the workplace and its positive impact on physical and mental health. Explore strategies such as encouraging physical activity, providing healthy food options, fostering work-life balance, and offering mental health resources to support employee well-being.

Water Color and ink print. Blue orange and black. Male figure standing in front of abstract blob of ink.

Introduction


As the world continues to grapple with negative impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, its effects are being felt in the workplace. While organisations across many industries have taken steps to create a secure and supportive work environment, it is still essential to adequately manage the psychological impacts of the pandemic, such as post-pandemic work stress and associated anxiety.

In this article, we explore the definition, causes, and effects of stress as well as strategies for mitigating it. We look at developing healthy routines, establishing coping methods, seeking professional help and creating a supportive office working environment to promote wellness.

Furthermore, we examine how stress can manifest itself in the workplace and what practical steps employers and employees can take to handle it proactively.

Short Summary

  • Understanding stress is essential to maintaining health and wellbeing, with 72% of Americans experiencing it daily.

  • Establishing healthy routines, developing effective coping strategies, seeking professional help, creating a supportive work environment, open communication, providing resources, and promoting wellness are all effective strategies for managing post-pandemic work stress.

  • Implementing these strategies can effectively protect the mental health of employees and improve workplace performance.

Advertisement for the Post-Pandemic Stress Recovery Module. Cartoon man sitting by the sea watching the sunset. vitage style. tan and pale blue. Slogan "Find calm now"

Understanding Stress

Stress is an emotional and physical reaction to external and internal stimuli that disrupts the body's equilibrium, activating the brain, limbic system, amygdala, hypothalamus, and autonomic nervous system. Comprehending stress is vital to maintaining one's health and wellbeing.

When the body is exposed to stressors, it engages in a range of psychological and physiological processes to assess the perceived threat and activate the necessary biological and behavioural responses in order to mitigate the stressors. Stress and anxiety in the workplace can have detrimental effects on physical and mental health conditions and, mental health, workplace efficiency, and professional prospects.

To effectively address workplace stress, mental health stigma and anxiety during and after the COVID-19 crisis, innovative mental/emotional health support strategies, and improved quality of care for anxiety and depression disorders, must be implemented.

Two major models and theories of stress and coping are the Transactional Model of Stress and Coping, and the General Adaptation Syndrome, which is a triphasic physiological process of alarm, resistance, and exhaustion.

Definition of Stress

Stress is a state of mental or emotional strain caused by a range of external and internal factors, resulting in feelings of frustration, anger, and/or overwhelm. It can become detrimental to one's wellbeing when it begins to interfere with their daily activities.

According to a survey conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, approximately 72% - more than half - of American employees experience daily stress and anxiety.

Causes of Stress

Stress is a physiological, psychological, and emotional reaction to a perceived danger or difficulty. It can arise from a range of issues, such as work-related matters, interpersonal conflicts, financial difficulties, mental health issues, and significant life transitions.

s.

These causes can activate the body's stress response, releasing hormones that prepare it for a fight or flight response. Workplace safety issues can encompass job insecurity, extended hours, considerable workload, lack of authority over work, and disagreements with colleagues or supervisors. All of these can result in stress and anxiety in the workplace.

Effects of Stress

The effects of global pandemic stress can be far-reaching, leading to fatigue and impairing our ability to concentrate, plan and make decisions. Additionally, chronic stress has been linked to a range of detrimental physical and psychological outcomes, including cardiovascular disease, hypertension, muscular pain and fatigue, as well as anxiety and depression.

Prolonged stressors such as the COVID-19 pandemic can exhaust individuals' coping resources, leading to heightened stress reactivity and negative emotional reactions to stress. Stress and anxiety can have a detrimental effect on workplace performance and the quality of work, as well as on interpersonal relationships both in and out of the workplace.

The use of benzodiazepines can lead to a variety of adverse effects, including sedation, cognitive impairment, and a heightened risk of abuse and physical dependency.

Managing Stress

Establishing and adhering to healthy routines is one of the most effective strategies for managing stress. Developing healthy routines to manage stress can involve obtaining adequate restful sleep, consuming a nutritious diet, engaging in physical activity, and taking time away from technology. Additionally, engaging in activities such as yoga and meditation, spending time in nature, and connecting with friends and family can be beneficial in managing stress.

Individuals can also employ problem-focused and emotion-focused coping strategies to effectively manage stressors. Problem-focused strategies involve taking active steps to address the source of stress, while emotion-focused strategies involve managing the emotions associated with the stressor.

Other strategies for managing stress include constructing meaning, utilizing social support, and religious coping. To develop effective coping strategies, it is important to identify the strategies that are most suitable for the individual and consistently practice them. Additionally, seeking professional assistance or support from others may have a significant impact on stress.

Establishing Healthy Routines

Establishing healthy routines can provide numerous advantages, including improved physical and mental health, increased productivity, and decreased stress and anxiety. Creating and maintaining healthy routines requires setting achievable objectives, beginning with small steps, being consistent, monitoring progress, and finding a reliable accountability partner.

Examples of beneficial daily habits include establishing a consistent wake-up time, making your bed, engaging in physical activity, meditating, showering, consuming a nutritious diet, get enough sleep, obtaining adequate rest, and cultivating mindfulness.

Developing Coping Strategies

Coping strategies refer to the behaviors, thoughts, and emotions that individuals use to effectively handle stress or difficult situations. Various strategies exist for managing challenging circumstances, such as problem-focused strategies, emotion-focused strategies, meaning making, social support, and religious coping.

Examples of problem-focused strategies include creating a to-do list, breaking down a task into manageable components, or consulting a colleague for advice. Examples of emotion-focused strategies include deep breathing, meditation, or engaging in a calming activity.

Developing effective coping strategies requires identifying the strategies that are most suitable for the individual and consistently practicing them. Additionally, seeking professional assistance or support from others may be beneficial.

Seeking Professional Help

Professional help is the utilization of the services of a qualified and certified specialist in a particular area. It is a method of obtaining specialized knowledge and guidance to assist in resolving specific issues or difficulties. Obtaining professional help is essential as it enables individuals to access specialized support and advice from knowledgeable and experienced professionals. Professionals who can offer assistance include mental health professionals, such as therapists and counselors, career coaches, financial advisors, and more.

To locate and gain access to professional assistance, individuals can request referrals from acquaintances or relatives, consult their insurance provider for a roster of covered providers, search online directories, and more. It is essential to research potential providers and confirm that they are certified and competent to provide the services you require.

Creating A Supportive Work Environment to combat Pandemic Work Stress

The consequences of inadequate employee wellbeing can be severe, ranging from decreased productivity and morale to burnout. Consequently, it is of paramount importance for employers to also prioritize mental health and stress management during the pandemic, in order to protect the mental health of their employees.

There are two primary forms of coping responses employed by workers to manage workplace stress and anxiety: emotion-focused coping and problem-focused coping. Age and gender are both influential factors in the development of coping strategies. Common problem-focused coping strategies employed by workers to address workplace stress and anxiety include seeking social support, implementing effective time management techniques, and utilizing problem-solving skills.

Detrimental approaches associated with emotion-focused coping include the misuse of substances and the suppression of emotions. Strategies for emotional wellbeing include journaling and meditation, both of which can help foster a sense of balance and inner peace.

Open Communication

Open communication is a style of communication that encourages the free exchange of ideas, thoughts, and feelings in an honest, reliable, and consistent manner. This type of communication is essential for workplace success as it increases employee morale, engagement, productivity, and satisfaction, ultimately leading to improved results for individuals, teams, and organizations.

Open communication in the workplace can be encouraged through the implementation of team meetings, one-on-one meetings with managers, open-door policies, suggestion boxes, and anonymous feedback surveys.

Open communication in the workplace can result in a range of positive outcomes, such as increased employee morale, engagement, productivity, and satisfaction, improved teamwork and collaboration, more effective problem-solving and decision-making, and a more congenial work environment.

Providing Resources

Employees can be supported through the provision of stress management techniques, time management skills, wellness tips or programs, yoga or meditation classes, and mental health resources such as employee assistance programs and private counseling or therapy. Employing stress management techniques can prove beneficial for many employees in managing post-pandemic work stress. Such techniques may include deep breathing exercises, mindfulness practices, and relaxation techniques, which can help reduce stress levels.

Employees can leverage time management techniques to address post-pandemic work-related stress by prioritizing tasks, establishing achievable objectives, and managing their workloads more efficiently, thereby reducing feelings of overwhelm and anxiety. Wellness tips or programs can provide employees with the necessary tools to effectively manage post-pandemic work stress. Such tips and can encourage healthy habits such as exercise, healthy eating, and adequate sleep, which can improve overall well-being and reduce stress levels.

Yoga or meditation classes can offer employees a means of alleviating stress, as well as enhancing their mental and physical wellbeing, thus helping them cope with post-pandemic work stress. Mental health resources such as counseling or therapy can provide employees with a secure and private environment to discuss their emotions and worries, as well as devise strategies and techniques to handle their stress and anxiety.

Promoting Wellness

Wellness is the practice of actively engaging in activities, decisions, and lifestyles that promote a state of holistic health, encompassing physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, interpersonal, and environmental wellbeing. The promotion of wellness is of paramount importance as it can result in improved physical and mental health, thereby enhancing the quality of life and work productivity.

Strategies to promote wellness in the workplace include encouraging employees to engage in physical activity, providing healthy food options, fostering work-life balance, providing mental health resources, and cultivating a supportive work atmosphere. By creating a supportive environment for their employees, employers can facilitate better mental health and reduce workplace stress, ultimately leading to improved productivity and performance.

Continued Reading:

  1. "The Stress Solution: 4 Steps to a Calmer, Happier, Healthier You" by Dr. Rangan Chatterjee: Summary: This book offers practical strategies to manage stress and improve overall well-being. Dr. Chatterjee presents a four-step plan that includes relaxation techniques, exercise, nutrition, and sleep optimization to reduce stress levels and achieve a healthier lifestyle.

This book provides actionable steps and a holistic approach to tackling stress. It offers strategies that align with the article's emphasis on establishing healthy routines and managing stress through various aspects of life, such as sleep, nutrition, and exercise.

  1. "The Anxiety Toolkit: Strategies for Fine-Tuning Your Mind and Moving Past Your Stuck Points" by Alice Boyes, Ph.D.: Summary: Dr. Boyes presents a range of practical tools and techniques to manage anxiety. The book covers cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) strategies, mindfulness exercises, and self-compassion practices to help readers overcome anxiety and build resilience.

Anxiety is closely linked to stress, and this book offers specific tools and techniques to manage anxiety in the workplace. The strategies mentioned align with the article's recommendations for developing coping strategies, seeking professional help, and creating a supportive work environment.

  1. "Workplace Wellness That Works: 10 Steps to Infuse Well-Being and Vitality into Any Organization" by Laura Putnam: Summary: This book provides a comprehensive guide to creating a healthy and supportive work environment. It offers practical advice on implementing wellness programs, promoting work-life balance, fostering positive communication, and cultivating a culture of well-being within organizations.

The book directly addresses the importance of creating a supportive work environment to manage post-pandemic work stress. It provides actionable steps and insights for both employees and employers, aligning with the article's emphasis on creating a supportive workplace culture.

  1. "The Upside of Stress: Why Stress Is Good for You and How to Get Good at It" by Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D.: Summary: In this book, Dr. McGonigal challenges the negative perception of stress and explores how embracing stress can lead to personal growth and resilience. She provides evidence-based strategies to change one's mindset and transform stress into a positive force.

This book offers a unique perspective on stress, encouraging readers to reframe their relationship with stress and view it as an opportunity for growth. It complements the article's focus on understanding stress and developing coping strategies to manage stress effectively.

  1. "The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work" by Shawn Achor: Summary: Drawing on positive psychology research, Shawn Achor shares practical strategies to cultivate happiness and well-being in the workplace. He explores how positive emotions, gratitude, and optimism can improve productivity, creativity, and overall success.



Advertisement for the Post-Pandemic Stress Recovery Module. Anthropomorphized cartoon toaster carrying a breifcase headed to work. Tan background blue and white accents. Slogan "Beat work stress"

Conclusion

The Covid-19 pandemic has caused a resurge of stress in the workplace and, consequently, profound effects on workers. It is important to understand that stress causes an array of physiological and psychological processes and is best managed through well-structured routines and coping strategies. Access to resources and encouragements for self-care are essential for promoting wellness, lessening the impact of stress and helping employees stay on top of their work.

Open communication helps build trust and connection in the workforce and allows team members to productively process and find solutions to mitigate stressors. As individuals, employers, and companies, it is important to take responsibility to make sure that staff members are not isolated and overwhelmed by the anxiety of uncertainty.

By utilizing the strategies outlined in this article, we can help create a positive and resilience oriented workplace. Although the future may seem uncertain, adopting these strategies can bring hope—hope that together, we will be able to navigate our way through the post-pandemic workplace with decreased stress and improved mental and physical health.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is post pandemic syndrome?

Post-pandemic syndrome is a type of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which involves experiencing and dealing with difficult mental health symptoms caused by the pandemic. These symptoms can include fear,, anxiety, isolation, job loss, and grief over losses experienced during the pandemic.

PPSD can affect anyone who has gone through the tumultuous period that we have faced while dealing with COVID-19.

How to deal with anxiety about going back to work after COVID?

Returning to a place of work after many months of lockdown can be challenging. Taking it step-by-step, communicating openly and getting additional support if needed are all great ways to deal with the transition.

Try not to overload yourself too quickly, instead be kind to yourself and focus on taking small steps at your own pace.

How to cope with job stress and build resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic employees?

To cope with job stress during the COVID-19 pandemic and build resilience, develop a consistent daily routine, practice good sleep hygiene, take breaks from work to stretch or exercise, connect with family and friends, and spend time outdoors.

By taking these steps, you can help maintain your well-being during this challenging time.

How do you cope with stress experiences challenges brought by COVID-19 pandemic?

To manage the stress associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, I focus on finding enjoyable activities to do and limiting my exposure to news coverage, while talking with trusted people about my concerns.

Additionally, I strive to interrupt any negative thinking patterns, as well as maintain regular routines that help me stay grounded.

What are the post pandemic stressors?

Post-pandemic stressors range from the fear of becoming infected while re-adjusting to physical socialization to the anxiety that comes along with transitioning back into work and school settings.

Additionally, financial worries stemming from job loss or a drop in income over the pandemic likely pose an ongoing source of stress for many.



 


Advertisement for the Post-Pandemic Stress Recovery Module. Cartoon woman looking at a phone. stressed face. red hair. Teal background orange lettering. Slogan "Stress Relief"

Are you having challenges recovering from the emotional effects of the pandemic?


Explore your wellness with the Post-Pandemic Recovery Workbook. This workbook is designed by professionals utilizing the best of the clinical literature on self-improvement to assist you in achieving your wellness goals.




Comments


LDG is an affiliate partner. When you purchase through links on our site, a commission is generated. This income helps us in our commitment to provide you with high-quality future services. Thank you for supporting LDG with your purchases.

bottom of page