Ask the Experts: Licensed Trade Charity

Reopening the doors to venues comes for most with a joyous sigh of relief. For some however, this joy is outweighed by a feeling of dread and anxiety about returning to work after such a long time. Here at Bar Magazine we are here to help you and provide you with some much-needed advice, with help from the fantastic team at the Licensed Trade Charity. Every month we want you to send us your questions so we can provide you with some of the best industry advice. Contact us via Instagram @barmagazine to get involved. We can’t wait to hear from you!

“I have been furloughed for five months and not worked at all during lockdown. I will return to work when pubs reopen on May 17th, and I am becoming increasingly more anxious about the thought of being back in the trade after such a long time. What kind of advice can the Licensed Trade Charity give to help me with my worries? What type of support is available for others like myself?”

Jolanta Strong, Charity Services Deputy Manager at Licensed Trade Charity

Coming back to work after booking annual leave can be incredibly difficult for many people, and adjusting to everyday working life again can take time. In our current situation, we’re not talking about a few days or weeks, some people haven’t been in the trade for the best part of a year, and we understand that this can be very daunting. The critical thing to remember in this situation is that it is okay to be worried, it is okay to be anxious, and everything you are feeling right now is completely normal and okay. Many emotions are being felt by everyone going back into the trade right now; people have spent months with an entirely different routine, so we’re talking about a massive change in peoples lives and coping with change will be different for everybody.

Firstly, I think it is important to note that no matter what you are feeling, there isn’t anything wrong with you, this is an entirely normal, healthy reaction, and there are thousands of other people who are also experiencing the same thing. We would advise anyone in this situation to talk about their feelings with family, friends, co-workers, and anyone you can. It is important to remember that if you feel like this – someone else is experiencing the same. Luckily, more people than ever, employers included, are incredibly supportive of their colleague’s mental health. Our mental health and mental well-being are a vital part of who we are, how we operate, and how we behave.

Noticing if someone you know or someone you work with is struggling mentally is also essential. Please don’t be afraid of approaching someone and asking those vital questions; Are you okay? How are you doing today? How are you feeling? Working closely with someone means that you get to know them, and you get to know how they usually behave and what is ‘normal, so when you notice that their behaviour and demeanour has changed, it is absolutely fine to say you have seen a difference.

If you feel as though something is getting on top of you, this could be work-related or even something that is happening in your personal life, we recommend contacting our confidential 24-hour helpline. We have fully trained counsellors who will answer your call and give you advice in complete confidence. They are an incredibly friendly team who will happily talk through any issues you may have and offer solution-focused counselling. In some cases, it could be that all that is needed is a one-off call for support, but if our counsellors recognise that more support and time is required, they can offer up to six over the phone sessions.

We recognise that a lot of the time, people are often worried about asking for help. Now more than ever, it is so important to ask for the support that is so greatly deserved.

For support and advice contact the Licensed Trade Charity helpline on 0808 8010550 or visit

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