INDIANAPOLIS — According to the American Psychological Association, half of Americans are feeling anxious about returning to in-person interactions after the pandemic.
This is partly due to the fear of getting sick, but the main concern is just feeling socially awkward because we haven’t exercised that social muscle in a year. Often, the best way to work through that anxiety is to find support and face it together.
Garrett Mintz is founder of Ambition in Motion, a firm that helps students and companies improve success through mentoring programs
Sunday on 13Sunrise, Mintz talked about how to cut down on anxiety as people start to return to the office after the pandemic of 2020.
As a professional, one way to find support by seeking out a mentor at your company, preferably someone that doesn’t work with you on projects and is from outside your department.
The key is finding a mentor from inside your company, but outside your immediate working group. A mentor from within the company can understand your work situation from shared experience. And, by seeking a mentor outside your circle, you gain a confidant with whom you can share more openly without risking a conflict of interest.
This mentor relationship gives you somebody to help process your feelings, and they can be your ally for when you feel anxiety or worry about an awkward situation coming on.
And just to be clear, a mentor doesn’t have to be somebody with more or less experience than you. This mentor can be a Horizontal Mentor, a mentorship relationship that is built upon shared experiences between peers. The key is mutual agreement to be open to learning from the other and helping the other person work through their challenges.
Mintz' other suggestion is to find, or create, a mastermind group. A mastermind group is a group of professionals, typically from outside of your company, that meet regularly to provide perspective and insights to each other as they identify opportunities for growth and challenges at work.
Even if you don’t feel anxiety about coming back to the office, Mintz highly recommends fellow professionals to seek out these activities. These types of relationships help build a resilient mindset for professional growth and performance improvement.
Ultimately, social opportunities like Horizontal Mentors and mastermind groups can help ease your transition back to the office and help you get that social muscle back in shape and better than ever.
Watch the 13Sunrise segment in the video player.