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Are you worrying too much about returning to work?

Some people thinking about returning to work find they are consumed by worries. These often start with ‘What if…?’

What if ….  I can’t do this work anymore?
What if …   no-one will employ me anymore?
What if ….  my children/partner/family miss me?
What if ….  I’m not able to take time off for emergencies?
What if …  I can’t find a flexible role in my field?
What if …  I fail?
What if …  I can’t get good childcare?

The volume and variety of doubts and fears can be enough to cause paralysis and prevent any further progress with activities that might eventually lead to a new role.  Everything feels too risky.
Getting beyond worry
If you are finding that your worries crowd in every time you think about how to return to work, what can you do?
  • Write down all your worries.  Getting them out of your head and seeing them written down can reduce their power over you.  Some of them might seem more manageable once you lay them out.
  • Talk your worries through with a trusted friend or your partner. Articulating your concerns, and investigating them with a compassionate and understanding companion, can help you to see them from a new perspective and loosen their hold on you.
  • Ask yourself ‘What’s the worst that can happen?’ – you might find it is not so bad.
  • Think about how you could test out your worry with an experiment which feels less risky.  For example: take a refresher training course or find a small volunteer project to remind you of your professional skills; commit to an activity you enjoy which means you are unavailable to your family for a fixed, regular but small amount of time and see how they cope.
  • Remember that worries and doubts are normal in any change, so don’t wait for them to go away before taking action.
  • If your worries stem from needing to let go of certain domestic roles or jobs that you have always held, work out how you might be able to delegate or renegotiate and get some practice.
  • For more ideas and to address specific worries, take a look at our posts on being a martyr or perfectionist, feeling selfish, regaining confidence and being overly self-critical.
Posted by Katerina