How To Soothe Anxiety As Lockdown Eases
The government’s recent roadmap out of lockdown has many people jumping for joy at the thought of being able to socialise and enjoy the perks of normal life once again. However, for others, the thought of leaving the safety of lockdown may be causing high levels of anxiety. This is understandable, especially given the length of the pandemic, and those who are experiencing this are definitely not alone in their struggles. The pandemic has taken a huge chunk of our lives and we have been actively avoiding social situations, sanitizing everything that we touch and settling into our new lockdown lives since March last year.
The thought of the lockdown lifting proposes a big change for those who have settled into their new way of life. Sudden pressures to socialise or get back to work may disrupt routines that people have found comforting over the past 12 months. The ease of restrictions has also left many people feeling distrustful towards the government’s decisions; we tend to fear the unknown and are reluctant when our safety blankets are taken away. It is perfectly understandable to have these anxieties right now, and there are a few things that may help you to soothe your anxiety as lockdown eases.
Take things slowly
Just because everything is open again does not mean that you have to rush out and do everything at once. It is okay to take your time and ease yourself slowly back into pre-lockdown life. Many people will not have socialised in large groups since the beginning of 2020, so it may feel overwhelming to dive straight into the deep end. Start with post-lockdown activities that you can do by yourself or in small groups, such as grabbing a coffee or meeting with a couple of friends for a walk. Once you feel comfortable with this, you can start to try larger-scale social events.
If you are feeling pressured by work to suddenly jump back into regular office life, you could talk to your manager about working from home for a little longer whilst you get your head around the changes. Workplaces should be prepared for staff to feel wary about returning back to normal and should be able to accommodate a more gradual return.
While employees may be anxious at returning to work, retired people will also have their worries. The elderly are some of the most affected by post-lockdown anxiety and may feel unsure about going into supermarkets or taking public transport in case of large crowds. Others may have lost confidence in themselves through the pandemic and might feel anxious about being independent away from their homes. Luckily, there are many services that offer home care support for elderly people so that they can slowly regain their confidence after lockdown. Home care support services provide assistance for daily tasks that help elderly people to feel less alone, and also offer emotional guidance for those who are experiencing heightened anxiety.
Control what you can
One of the main reasons that post-lockdown life causes many people to feel anxiety is the lack of control that they feel around restrictions lifting. We cannot predict everything that will happen once the lockdown ends, and, for many, this is a cause for concern. You can take back your sense of control and ease your anxieties around post-lockdown life by focusing on the things that you are able to control, so that you feel safe. The best way to do this is to create a new post-lockdown routine for yourself. Having a familiar routine has helped many people to feel at ease during the lockdown and it may have the same effects for post-lockdown life.
You could try to incorporate aspects of your lockdown routine into your post-lockdown one to limit the amount of change that you will have to adapt to. Just because life is slowly changing back to normal does not mean that you have to throw away all of the new routines and habits that you have picked up during the pandemic. Change becomes a lot let anxiety-inducing when you realise that much of your life can remain the same.
Reach out to loved ones
If you are experiencing post-lockdown anxiety, it is likely that others around you are too. You could try reaching out to loved ones about your feelings. Those around you may be able to give you advice about coping with your anxieties and opening up about your feelings will take a huge weight off of your shoulders. Some people may feel reluctant to tell others about their feelings in fear of seeming pessimistic or ungrateful about lockdown restrictions being lifted, but your loved ones will understand and will be able to support you through the change.
Speaking to your loved ones will also help them to understand why you may not want to join every social event post-lockdown, which could help to resolve misunderstandings. Telling those around you how you feel will create a support network and will help you to feel less alone in your worries.