Why You Might Be Feeling Post-Lockdown Anxiety And How To Manage It
22 June 2020, 17:27
As lockdown restrictions gradually lift, many are feeling anxious about returning to the outside world.
Just a few months ago it felt we were all eager for life to return to normality, with the idea of spending 13 weeks at home an overwhelming thought for some.
But the time has passed in a flash for many and the coronavirus lockdown restrictions are beginning to lift – even pubs and restaurants could be opening in July, providing more opportunities for socially-distanced meet-ups after months of Zoom quizzes and FaceTime calls.
However, a lot of people are beginning to feel anxious about making plans again, after avoiding public spaces since 23 March.
Why am I anxious about lockdown ending?
Mental health charity Mind have outlined a number of feelings you may relate to about the thought of lockdown easing, including being distrustful of the government’s change in the rules, under pressure to return to work or attend social situations, or even confused about wanting to socialise but also feeling you should stay at home.
Spending three months in lockdown has forced us all to change our lifestyles, and many have adapted well to those changes, making leaving our new routines behind a stressful thought, especially when there is so much uncertainty on what the ‘new normal’ will look like.
Anxiety trends to stem from the fear of the unknown, and life after lockdown is exactly that.
In lockdown, a lot of people filled their time with new hobbies and, in a lot of cases, had more time to spend on themselves – in some cases people’s mental health was better off because of the enforced “time off”, which is why going back out into the world can feel so daunting.
However, Mind encourage the fact there is “no normal response to lockdown easing” and that your feelings may change each day depending on your personal situation and how your lockdown experience has been for you.
How can I manage my anxiety about lockdown easing?
It's important for us all at this point to now remember everyone will be processing the current global situation in a different way, and if you want to turn down a social meet-up, explain your feelings why and your friends will likely understand.
Anxiety is often best dealt with by talking about how you feel, which is why Mind recommend talking to someone you trust, or getting in touch with Samiratans. You can call them for free on 116 123, or visit their website, www.samaritans.org.
There are also plenty of online support communities where you can share your experience and hear from others.
They also advise making choices to control what you can.
“Although the coronavirus outbreak means that your choices are limited, try to focus on the things you can change. It might be helpful to list the things you can change on one piece of paper and all the things you can’t on another.”
It’s also ok to reach out for help if you’re struggling with your mental health. Your GP is always a good place to start.