How to manage any worries you may have about lockdown easing
After so long in lockdown, it's natural to feel some anxiety about restrictions easing. In full lockdown things might have felt more certain or predictable, and you may have felt more safe. But now that lockdown restrictions are being lifted, things might feel less clear and there may be new challenges.
It’s normal to feel anxious or stressed about change, and lockdown being lifted is a big change for many of us.
In this article we’ve included some advice about how to manage the feelings you might have about the coronavirus lockdown easing, and where to get support.
1. Go at your own pace
As things start to open up, you might feel like you’re expected to make lots of plans and say yes to every invitation, but there's no need to rush.
Take it step by step, and only do what feels comfortable and safe as you ease back into socialising. As your confidence returns, you will find that you’re able to do more.
However, it’s important to try not to avoid things entirely. Avoiding the things that make us anxious can feel like the easier option, but this can make it harder to start facing our fears in the longer term.
Instead, try to set yourself small but achievable targets, such as meeting one person for a coffee, and gradually build up from there.
2. Have a routine and make time to relax
Lockdown meant that life changed significantly for many of us and we developed new routines. And now that lockdown is lifting and restrictions are easing, our daily lives may be changing once again.
To make the change feel less disruptive, are there areas in your life where you can stick to a routine? Something as simple as going to bed and waking up at the same time each day or having dinner at the same time every day, can make a big difference.
Also, don’t forget to make time in your day to relax. As life returns to normal, being able to do more things and see more of our loved ones is exciting. However, it can also be a lot to take in all at once, so it's important to find regular time for yourself too.
3. Get your information from the right sources
There’s a lot of conflicting and confusing information about COVID-19 and the easing of restrictions out there, which can make it hard to know what you can and cannot do or who to trust.
With the digital age with now live in, harmful misinformation can spread like wildfire. So it’s important to carefully think about where you’re getting your information from. For example, misinformation is common on social media platforms such as Facebook and YouTube as they are not official news sources and for the most part are unregulated.
If you want to discover the latest news and understand the current rules, stick to trusted sources like Gov.uk and the NHS COVID-19 pages for the most up-to-date information. By using these sources, you can be confident and secure in your understanding.
4. Share how you are feeling
It's easy to feel isolated or lonely when we're struggling. However, you’re not alone, and chances are that someone you know is feeling exactly the same way.
Opening up to a person we trust can really help our mental wellbeing, whether it's a friend or family member, a GP or an organisation's helpline or online forum.
If you are not ready to start socialising but are feeling lonely, there's plenty of support out there, like the Let's Talk Loneliness Campaign, and people you can speak to at any time.
If you don’t feel comfortable talking to people yet, an alternative can be to explore your feelings by keeping a diary or journal. You may find that expressing how you’re feeling on paper will help you feel more confident in explaining to someone how you’re feeling.
It can also be a great way to track your mood over time and remind yourself of the progress you have made and how far you have come.
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