Feeling anxious about the end of Lockdown?

Top tips on how to deal with post-lockdown anxiety

Everyone’s experience of lockdown and events of the past year or so have been different, some have had a more positive experience, while for others it has been extremely challenging, but as we move to the ‘new normal’ I’m reading more and more about people feeling overwhelmed at the thought of group situations, returning the office and other social situations that previously were part of their day to day lives.

In a recent article I read in Women’s Health Magazine they shared some top tips on how to deal with post-lockdown anxiety that I thought would be interesting to share… here is my edited version of the top tips.

Various images for In the Same Boat internal newsletter May 2021

Use soothing techniques

Use techniques to remind your body that you are safe, such as:

  • breathing practices (Any technique where you take a long inhale through the nose and a longer exhale through the mouth, really focusing on that exhale, can take you out of fight or flight)
  • grounding (these techniques held you to ground yourself in the present. Try naming one thing you can see, smell, touch, hear in the present moment, or sit on a chair and focus on the feeling of your feet on the ground and your body being supported)

You can also work on noticing and working on your individual stress triggers.

Give yourself some grace

Giving yourself a healthy dose of kindness. Practice some self-compassion as you make the transition and remind yourself that it’s natural to feel uncertain and nervous.

It can be tempting to push difficult feelings aside and just "power through", but one of the most helpful things we can do for ourselves is to simply accept any difficult feelings without judgement. Grant yourself the time and space to acknowledge the turbulence and let any feelings of fear, anxiety, or anger and be present without trying to push them aside or change them.

Focus on what you can control

Lack of control and certainty can be anxiety-raising. We often tend to deal with stress by trying to assert control, and when things are changing so rapidly, we can end up feeling very unsettled.

It can help to focus on those things which are certain and which we can control. Think about how we control our anxiety levels, what we need to feel more solid again, reminding ourselves that important things like our personal connections are within our control, too.

Reframe your thinking

When we feel anxious, it can be easy to fall into unhelpful thinking patterns where we catastrophise or try to predict the future. When you catch yourself doing this, try to reframe the thought and tell yourself a more helpful story.

For example, if your thought is "post-lockdown life is too overwhelming", try reframing it to: "It’s normal to be anxious about this change and I’m allowed to go at my own pace".

Monitor your exposure to the news

Limit the news where possible. Rumour and speculation can fuel anxiety so find trusted sources that you can rely on and set a time limit for how much you consume.

Set boundaries

Given that we're all likely to respond to the end of lockdown in different ways, it tracks that some people in your life, even those you're closest to, might be feeling different to you.

Be honest and set the boundaries that you feel comfortable with. It is worth considering what is stopping you – is it anxiety about health or is it more social anxiety?

Stick to a healthy routine

When it comes to handling anxious feelings, looking after yourself is important. Don’t forget the basics – maintain a positive routine that includes exercise, healthy food and sleep, and communicate with loved ones about how you’re feeling.

Take time to process what's happened

Trying to convince yourself that you should be able to pick up where you left off in March 2020 isn't wise. After a year of collective trauma – and much still unknown about what lies ahead – taking time to process what has gone on is key.

Ask yourself:

  • what has been the most difficult thing for me through this process?
  • what has changed for me through this time?
  • what have I learned about myself and my capacity to manage hard things?
  • is there anything I need in order to feel ok now?

Try thinking about and journaling answers to these, to see if they help you to get some clarity on how you feel.

I hope you found this as interesting as I did and you can read the full article here https://www.womenshealthmag.com/uk/health/mental-health/a36001626/end-of-lockdown-anxiety/ written by Claudia Canavan and Chloè for Women’s Health Magazine 12/04/2021