By Dago Cordova

DENVER (CBS4) – April is Stress Awareness Month and with COVID cases leveling off in Colorado, many of us are heading back to the office. That’s causing a lot of stress and anxiety because after years away, we’re going back to socializing and sharing personal space.

CBS4 talked with Dr. Anat Geva, a clinical psychologist at HealthONE Behavioral Health and Wellness.

(credit: Getty Images)

“I think that it’s important to slowly ease back into the new normal, but what’s also important is to really honor our own boundaries and limitations. So being clear with ourselves ahead of time, what we’re okay with, what we’re not and the key here is really to communicate it. Communicate it with your family and friends and also ask them what are you comfortable with? What are you not comfortable with?”

Geva also says people need to be sensitive to co-workers who are still a bit skittish. It’s a great time to set up new boundaries.

“Saying, ‘hey, it’s so good to see you, but wait a second. I’m not ready for hugs. Can we elbow? Can we high five one another?’ And so letting the other person know not only what not to do because that could put them in an uncomfortable situation, but also what you’re okay with,” said Geva.

She adds it’s a time to learn to accept ourselves, accept the other person and being very clear about what’s going to work and more importantly, what’s not going to work for us and knowing how to relay it to the other person.

“Stress with change is very normal,” she said. “The key here is to be preemptive, to manage the moment the best that we can, and then when we look back at it, it’s good to do a post-mortem, but it’s also really important to have grace for ourselves.”

For more stress management tips, contact HealthONE Behavorial Health and Wellness.

Dago Cordova