With the restrictions beginning to ease around the world I thought it important to discuss post-lockdown anxiety. During this lockdown, many of us have adapted to a new way of living, a new schedule, and a new way of doing everyday things. Many people haven’t been outside for months, or only gone outside once a day for an hour at a time so it is natural that they may feel a little anxious to get back into the swing of things. Coming out of this new way of living may cause high levels of anxiety, especially when there is the possibility of another lockdown. Below I detail ways that may help you combat this post-lockdown anxiety.
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How To Cope With Post-Lockdown Anxiety
Don’t Rush Yourself
If you aren’t ready for jumping straight back in to normality, give yourself small steps. Go out twice in one day instead of once and each day increase what you’re doing until you don’t realise you’re doing it anymore. Taking it one day at a time is important, don’t focus on what life will be like in a month – no one knows – focus on today. It’s a slow and steady process, but slow and steady wins the race and it could be the best way to beat post-lockdown anxiety without overwhelming yourself.
Talk To Your Boss
If you’re feeling anxious about going back to work it’s important that you talk to your boss. They may be able to settle your mind by outlining all the steps they’re taking to keep you all safe, or you may be able to come to an agreement where you work from home a few days a week and stagger your return to the office. Don’t be too hard on your boss, as we’re dealing with something new they are also learning the best ways to deal with this virus and the restrictions that come with it.
Listen To Local Advice Only
Don’t worry about what’s happening elsewhere in the country, listen to your local advice. If you’re from a town in Scotland and you see deaths rising in a town in England, of course, you’ll be alarmed. However, you are still in Scotland and will have different advice and restrictions. Read your local newspaper (this can also be done online) to see what restrictions are currently in place in your local area and follow those.
Remember That Post-Lockdown Anxiety is Normal
You’ve been cooped up in your home for several weeks, but so has everyone else. Feeling anxious about getting back to reality is expected and your neighbours, friends and family are probably feeling the same. We’re in unprecedented territory here and no one knows the best way to get back to our normal routine. So talk to your friends and family about how you’re feeling, share ideas and comfort each other.
Monitor Your Inner Dialogue
Are your thoughts contributing to your post-lockdown anxiety? Find a way to change your thought process to help you get through the day. It’s so easy to slip in to the negative through process that stops us from doing things, but there are ways to combat this. One of the best ways to do this is to consciously change your thought process. If you find yourself thinking in a negative way, start thinking positive. An example of this: if you find yourself thinking about what you did wrong in any scenario, change the thought process to be thinking about what you will do to change that in the future.
Don’t just inform yourself of the lockdown restrictions, inform yourself of the best ways to protect yourself when venturing out. Research ways that may make you feel more comfortable getting back to reality and use them. This should help ease post-lockdown anxiety because you know you’re doing everything in your power to protect yourself and others around you.
Consider Therapy To Manage Your Post-Lockdown Anxiety
It will be an adjustment for us all, and in many cases not a welcome one. Getting back to normal will be so hard, especially for those who have been unemployed or furloughed for a long period of time. Therapy can help you work through this and feel truly comfortable returning to your office or to work. There will naturally be some fearful feelings about doing normal social things like being in pubs, bowling or the cinema. This is normal and a therapist can give you coping mechanisms.
Talk To Your Family And Friends
Your concerns won’t be isolated. Your friends and family may be feeling them too. If you’re nervous about getting back out and doing things, try to organise doing them with the people you trust the most. There is a comfort in being around the people you love and that can make the transition back to the “real world” so much easier.
Don’t Let Yourself Get Forces Into Doing Things
When you’re feeling anxious, it can be easier to say yes to something you aren’t actually comfortable with. Learn to use the word “no” and realise that you aren’t actually letting anyone down. If you aren’t ready to go on an outing you have to say no. You aren’t going to be any fun if you do go and you’ll feel more anxious when you return home. The only person who knows what you’re ready for is you, don’t let someone else dictate how you feel.
There are so many resources that can help you and your family deal with and learn about anxiety:
Anxiety UK – https://www.anxietyuk.org.uk/
Mental Health Foundation – www.mentalhealth.org.uk
Support In Mind Scotland – https://www.supportinmindscotland.org.uk/
No Panic – www.nopanic.org.uk
Rethink Mental Illness – www.rethink.org
Samaritans – www.samaritans.org.uk
SANE – www.sane.org.uk/support
YoungMinds – www.youngminds.org.uk