Psychologist’s guide to returning to office after COVID-19 pandemic

How to prepare yourself mentally as you begin your transition back to work. (File/Getty)
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Updated 13 June 2020

Psychologist’s guide to returning to office after COVID-19 pandemic

DUBAI: After weeks at home, the idea of returning to work can naturally feel daunting. Others may start feeling excited about the prospect. After all, being around people can be very uplifting, creating an energy in you that you may have struggled to ignite at home. Here, I provide a guide on how to prepare yourself mentally as you begin your transition back to work.

Mindset is everything. You have the power to shift your thoughts and feelings. Pay attention to what you are telling yourself. Take some time in silence and stillness, listen to that little voice in your head. Write down all your thoughts around returning to work. Ask yourself the following questions: Are these thoughts true and helpful? What is the reality? Who am I without the thoughts that are untrue?

Kick-start your routine of healthy eating and sleeping. This will have a positive impact on your vitality and well-being. When we are well-rested and nourished, our strengthened immunity gives us the mental grit and resilience to deal with the nuances of change.

Practice affirming. Psychologists have shown that by affirming daily we influence our mindset, which impacts our attitude, behaviors and ultimately our results. Some examples of positive affirmations include: “I am peaceful and content” and “I let go of thoughts and feelings that do not serve me.”

Make a list of things that you are thankful for every day. When we are able to extract what we are grateful for, our mind opens up to the beauty of life and “what is.” Our subconscious mind will want to attach labels to experiences we are entering, especially if it is a big change from what we are used to. Focus on what is working and going well and you will find that this attitude of gratitude brings more goodness and positivity to your experience.

Lastly, draw from your learnings over the last few months of how you effectively worked from home amid a global pandemic. Ask yourself: What did I do to help myself during this transition, what particular self-care habits have served me and how will I maintain these?

Follow these steps and you will bounce back in no time at all.


In Lebanon, single-concert festival serenades empty ruins

Updated 05 July 2020

In Lebanon, single-concert festival serenades empty ruins

  • The Baalbek International Festival was streamed live on television and social media
  • The night kicked off with the Lebanese philharmonic orchestra and choir performing the national anthem

BEIRUT: A philharmonic orchestra performed to spectator-free Roman ruins in east Lebanon Sunday, after a top summer festival downsized to a single concert in a year of economic meltdown and pandemic.
The Baalbek International Festival was instead streamed live on television and social media, in what its director called a message of “hope and resilience” amid ever-worsening daily woes.
The night kicked off with the Lebanese philharmonic orchestra and choir performing the national anthem, followed by Carmina Burana’s “O Fortuna,” a 13th century poem set to music.

The program, which ran for just over an hour, included a mix of classical music and rock and folk tunes by composers ranging from Beethoven to Lebanon’s Rahbani brothers.
Held in the open air and conducted by Harout Fazlian, the 150 musicians and chorists were scattered inside the illuminated Temple of Bacchus, as drones filmed them among the enormous ruins and Greco-Roman temples of Baalbek.
Festival director Nayla de Freige told AFP most artists performed for free at the designated UNESCO World Heritage site.
The concert aimed to represent “a way of saying that Lebanon does not want to die. We have an extremely productive and creative art and culture sector,” she said.
“We want to send a message of civilization, hope and resilience.”
Baalbek itself became a militia stronghold during Lebanon’s 1975-1990 civil war, but conservation and tourism have revived the ruins over the past three decades.
Lebanon is known for its summer music festivals, which have in past years drawn large crowds every night and attracted performers like Shakira, Sting and Andrea Bocelli.
Other festivals have not yet announced their plans for this year.
Lebanon has recorded just 1,873 cases of COVID-19, including 36 deaths.
But measures to stem the spread of the virus have exacerbated the country’s worst economic crisis since the 1975-1990 civil war.
Since economic woes in the autumn sparked mass protests against a political class deemed irretrievably corrupt, tens of thousands have lost their jobs or part of their income, and prices have skyrocketed.
Banks have prevented depositors from withdrawing their dollar savings, while the local currency has lost more than 80 percent of its value to the greenback on the black market.