12th April 2021
10 tips to ease anxiety as lockdown ends
10 tips for coming out of lockdown and keeping yourself emotionally safe
As restrictions start to ease there is an expectation to go back to our usual routines. For some people this is leading to feelings of anxiety and overwhelm. Here are ten tips that may help if you are struggling with the transition out of lockdown.
If you are feeling anxious about lockdown easing and feel out of control of events, take control over what you can. You can’t control your employer wanting you back at work for example, but you can control how you will deal with your journey into work. If your journey is too loud, consider wearing headphones, listening to music, meditations, podcasts, or something that you know you will find more calming.
Consider all options for travelling to work, and when you’re at work, take time out during the day if possible. If you work in a busy office make sure that you have some time alone, this may not be easy if you are working in a busy office environment, but finding space even for five minutes at a time will help you during the first few weeks after you return to work.
Start socialising at your own pace. If you worry that others will stop inviting you out if you say no too often then this may go deeper than fear purely around COVID19 and may be something you want to talk to others about. Ask yourself where you stand in the friendship or family hierarchy.
Have you always said yes to invitations because you are scared to say no?
Is this something that you want to change?
Do you want to be able to say no to people without fear of missing out or losing your place in the group?
This may be the time to change this and to allow yourself to say no to others more easily and set your own boundaries.
If you are the one who is trying to arrange for everyone to meet up as this is what is best for your emotional health, stop and think about others. Some people may be wary of socialising at the moment and if you start rushing them to socialise it may rebound on you.
Have honest conversations with people about why you want to start socialising and ask for their suggestions as to how to do this so that everyone feels at ease, be open to all suggestions from other people.
Remember what works for your emotional health may not work for other people. Also remember that people may be messaging you agreeing to meeting up because they are afraid to say no. So be prepared for some resistance to actual meet ups and think about how you will cope with this if it happens.
Accept that you may feel perfectly fine in some places but not others and tell yourself that this is to be expected. Many people have had very limited interactions and engagement with other people for a long time and certain places and sounds may take time to get used to again. Remind yourself that this is temporary, if you felt happy at these places before then there is no reason that you won’t feel happy there again. Give yourself time to adjust.
If you were previously a very social person but now feel very worried about going out or meeting other people ask yourself what has happened in your world in the past year. Ask yourself if this is a rational fear that you can overcome yourself or do you feel that you need to seek assistance for it, even if it means talking to a friend or family member about what is coming up for you at the moment.
Who can support you as you start to open up your world again?
Leading on from number five it is important to talk to other people about how you are feeling. If you explain how you feel you might be surprised to find that others feel as concerned as you are and you might be able to encourage and support each other or give each other strategies and tips.
Set yourself small goals, perhaps going to certain smaller places or out with particular people. Keep pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and accept that at first you won’t feel comfortable doing this.
Stay away from social media or News programmes showing people returning to work or mixing with other people if this is increasing your anxiety. This can be a temporary decision until you feel safer going out. If we feel inadequate or that others are coping better than us, we are more likely to focus on the people that we see on social media and make assumptions that they are not feeling anxious in any way. Remember that what we see on social media does not necessarily depict reality.
Remember that you are not alone, there will be many people concerned about going back to the working environment or visiting friends and family, let alone going to clubs, pubs and restaurants Anxiety leaves us feeling very isolated and as if we are totally alone, when in fact this is never the case.
Finally, If you realise that your fear is irrational and you feel that you cannot talk to friends or family and ask for their support, it is a good time to seek professional help, even if you only attend for two or three sessions. Many people think that counselling is for deep rooted long held issues when in fact it can help us to recalibrate and reset ourselves after a period of unease or change to routines.
I hope that these tips help you over the coming weeks and months.