You’re not alone.
As lockdown restrictions begin to ease in the UK, you might be looking forward to having a little bit of normality and routine back in your life. But you might also be feeling anxious about adjusting to life post-lockdown. Many people have reported feeling nervous about returning to work or school, taking public transport or being in social situations again.
Here are six tips to help you cope with feelings of anxiety.
Practise self-awareness and compassion
It’s completely natural to feel a mixture of emotions right now.
On one hand, you might be craving some structure to your day, or looking forward to a socially-distanced catch up outside with a friend. But on the other hand, you might feel concerned or anxious about returning to situations you haven’t been in for some time. The key is to recognise this and be kind to yourself. If you find you’re being self-critical, ask yourself – how would I speak to a friend right now? You deserve to show yourself the kindness and patience that you would to someone else.
Speak to someone you trust
Share your fears and concerns with someone you feel comfortable talking to. The chances are they’re experiencing similar feelings. Sharing how you’re both feeling can help you both to feel supported and understood. If you have specific concerns about returning to work, speak to your HR dept. and colleagues.
Consider which situations you’re feeling particularly anxious about and decide what you could do in this situation to help ease your concerns. For example, if you’re anxious about taking public transport, can you find another way to travel? If not, could you travel at a quieter time of day when there may be less people around?
If you’re worried about returning to work, could you speak to your manager and ask to compress the hours you spend in the office? Plan ahead where possible, and take a positive, problem-solving approach.
Arm yourself with trustworthy information
The guidance on what to do and how to stay safe during coronavirus is constantly evolving. So it’s understandable if you’re feeling unsure what hygiene precautions you should take, or what social distancing measures to follow.
Knowledge is power here! Arming yourself with the correct facts will help you feel confident that you know what to do, and can help ease your worries.
Look after your wellbeing
Taking care of your physical health can help you to cope with feelings of anxiety and stressful situations when they arise. Try to eat a healthy diet, limit alcohol, exercise regularly and get good-quality sleep. Remember to take some time out to look after yourself. Try a few different things until you find what works for you.
Spending time outside in green, open spaces can have positive effects on your wellbeing – try it!
Focus on the positives
Try to focus on the positives and take pleasure from the little things you can enjoy again. Maybe you’re looking forward to getting a takeaway coffee from your favourite café again. Or it might be having a socially-distanced garden visit with a loved one you’ve been missing.
Remember, you’re not alone! We’ve all been impacted in one way or another by recent events.
It’s time to look forward, not back.
Here’s to a hopeful 2021.