Don’t want the pandemic to end? NJ experts understand why
Birthday party invitations are back in your mailbox. Some friends want to meet up with you at a local bar for a drink. The boss wants you to come back to the office at the end of June.
The coronavirus pandemic has shattered any sense of routine for New Jersey residents, but as weeks have turned into months, the pandemic has led to new routines and behaviors that could be hard to break in ‘normal’ life. starts calling again.
“I dread the socializing part of everything,” said Alex B., a Monmouth County resident. “Family reunions, being at work, I’ve been away from the conversation for over a year.”
New Jersey 101.5 has extensively covered the impact of the pandemic on the mental health of individuals. But as the number of vaccinations rises and COVID measures drop, and most mask and social distancing warrants are stricken, experts say there is bound to be another wave of anxiety related to returning to the country. the situation.
“Much of our population feels uncertain and nervous about this transition,” said Rachel Strohl, Senior Clinical Psychologist New Jersey Stress and Anxiety Services.
When it comes to social interactions, she said, most people who have enjoyed them in the past will likely be eager to get on top of things. But there are those who have always preferred a lifestyle with fewer gatherings and interactions, as well as those who have felt very comfortable staying at home with a very small social circle over the past 14 years. month.
“I don’t believe any of these setbacks will be permanent,” Strohl said. “They might take a little longer for different people to manage.
In a Focus NJ survey of more than 700 Garden State companies, more than 60% said they plan to bring their workforce back to the physical workplace in the spring or summer of this year. . Almost a quarter of respondents said they anticipate or have experienced hesitation from remote staff about returning to work at the physical company site.
“Even if you missed work and talked to your coworkers, you probably didn’t miss sitting on a train, sitting in traffic, cooking lunch every day, looking for parking. Said Ken Sumner, professor of psychology at Montclair State University.
When your current commute takes about 30 seconds – from the bedroom to the downstairs office, for example – getting used to the old routine again may not be so easy, Sumner said.
“We have established new routines and returning to work can cause anxiety even for people who wish to return to work,” he said.
Sumner suggested that for a small minority of workers, the pandemic may have opened their eyes to a work-life balance they prefer, perhaps prompting them to seek a different job or career path that offers more flexibility.
In the Focus NJ survey, 65% of companies said they would allow some of their workforce to work remotely when in-person feedback begins, or consider doing so.
Contact reporter Dino Flammia at [email protected]