Post lockdown anxiety

The last few months have been a difficult time for all of us.  Whilst we have all been facing the same ‘war’ we have all been facing different ‘battles’.  You may have experienced ill health, bereavement, financial worries, loneliness and relationship problems.  

Last month the government announced plans for easing lockdown. This is a sign that the sacrifices we’ve all been making are having a positive impact, however there is still a long journey ahead and it’s full of uncertainty.  What will our ‘new normal’ look like?  Should I send my children back to school?  Will my business recover?  Will I or my loved ones become ill?

At a time when none of us are feeling very resilient, this uncertainty fuels worry and anxiety. An Ipsos MORI survey conducted at the beginning of May found that 61% of Britons would feel uncomfortable using public transport and going to bars or restaurants.  Whilst 67% would feel uncomfortable going to large public gatherings such as music concerts or sports events, compared to how they felt before the pandemic.

We’ve all spent a lot of time at home and only socialised with the people we live with, so naturally our ‘comfort zone’ has shrunk.  We may have become used to a quieter and slower pace of life.  Post lockdown we will need to widen that ‘comfort zone’ again, and get used to going out and being around others.  It’s natural that at this time we will feel some degree of ‘sensory overload’, discomfort and anxiety.

It’s important at this time to be kind and patient with yourself, to practise self-compassion.  Understand that you are not alone in feeling this way and that there are no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ ways to feel.  Don’t compare yourself to others as we will all deal with this in our own way and in our own time.

Set yourself little goals to widen your ‘comfort zone’ gradually.  Don’t expect yourself to just go back to the way things were over night, you need to take this slowly.

“The Boy, the mole, the fox and the horse” by Charlie Mackesy

Think about what helped you during lockdown, such as regular exercise, gardening or creativity; and keep these activities going.

Keep a gratitude journal focusing on all the things you are thankful for and the progress you are making with coming out of lockdown.

Talk to friends and family about how you are feeling and ask for their support.  

If you try these things and it doesn’t seem to be working for you then consider seeking professional help, have a chat with your GP, contact your local IAPT service or find private treatment through BABCP or BACP – lots of therapists are now offering remote appointments.

Most importantly look after your physical health and help to keep others safe by continuing to follow the latest government guidance.