It’s a scary time to be heading back into our practices. Here are some tips on handling anxiety.
“It’s time to go back to work.” Those words are the ones that so many of us have been desperate to hear. We have bills to pay and groceries to buy. The stress of being out of work and filing for unemployment with 30 million other furloughed employees is overwhelming. My frustration is that it is impossible to get a live, breathing human to answer the phones at the unemployment office. Hopefully that will fade into a bad memory.
In Ohio, where I live, dental offices have reopened this week. Gov. Mike DeWine has been very conservative with shelter-in-place orders and trying to keep us safe. We cannot stay in this state indefinitely. But still, I wonder if anyone has considered the fear employees are experiencing as they return to work.
As we return to work, everything will look different. We are not going to be doing business as usual. Instead, we’ll have 1½-hour hygienist appointments instead of 1-hour. Patients will call from the parking lot and be told when to arrive in the office. We’ll have new technologies and equipment to keep staff and patients safe. We’ll have to start wearing gowns-with the head gear and all.
It’s a scary time to be heading back into our practices. That fear is only heightened by the scarcity of much-needed PPE. What if we get sick? Will I be asked to work if we do not have the proper PPE? It will be difficult to balance the need to work with the fear of getting COVID-19. We are supposed to be upbeat and give hope, but we need to be realistic-there are risks in going back to the office.
It’s frightening to think about our unpredictable future. You may be wondering if you’ll be furloughed or have hours cut due to fewer patients being seen. We’re all worried about a lack of job security.
So, how do I handle this anxiety? Here are a few things you can do when the anxiety is building up.
It’s going to be difficult to acclimate to this new normal. But we can adapt, and in fact, we must. These are very unusual times. In our lifetime, nothing will come close to this pandemic.
The dental industry is doing everything it can to keep you safe. If you have concerns, voice them. If you are scared, find a safe way to share them. Do not keep it inside or stuff them down. Instead, look for ways to start taking steps towards your new life. And do not give up hope-things will improve.
Share with me your concerns and fears as you reenter the dental world by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org .