Coping with anxiety as lockdown eases…
Are you feeling anxious about going back to life as normal as lockdown starts to lift ? You are not alone .
It feels a bit odd admitting this , and even a little bit selfish , but I have actually quite liked the world being in lockdown . I know lots of people have really struggled during this time , with not being able to see their families or friends and are raring to get back to parties and beer gardens . I’m also mindful that lockdown has made some people’s anxiety worse than it was before .
But for me personally , the whole world slowing down made me feel normal for once . I’ve been able to create a safe little bubble that has been mostly free of the stresses and worries of every day life . I’ve been able to save time and money by not having to commute to work . I can juggle the housework around my working day and the dreaded office meetings are much less intimidating when I can hide on my zoom screen and act like I’m talking to an empty room .
Living in my bubble of safety and comfort
But there have been downsides to living in my bubble of safety and comfort. I haven’t had to work as hard on overcoming my anxiety and it’s safe to say that I have become a bit complacent with my mental health .
I only usually experience anxiety in specific situations such as socialising , going to busy places and meeting new people. None of this has been an issue during lockdown . And not surprisingly, my anxiety is at its lowest when I’m at home , where I’ve spent 99% of my time over last 3 months .
As a result of this, I’ve definitely noticed an increase in anxiety when I do have to exit my bubble . I’ve found myself stuttering and tripping over my words when making phone calls or talking to supermarket cashiers. I feel like I’ve forgotten how to act around others.
And I guess that’s why lockdown lifting is making me feel a bit uneasy . I almost feel as if I have to start from square one and redo all of my hard work again . I got so used to being comfortable and now the time to return to life is creeping closer and closer .
My preparation …
Instead of just sitting around feeling hopeless about it , I’m trying to work on some ways that will make returning to normal life a bit easier . Here are some things I’m doing to prepare myself .
- Setting a routine – having the luxury of flexible working hours during lockdown means that I am used to waking up and working through my to do lists whenever I feel like it . For the last couple of weeks I’ve been getting up at 7am , which is when I would usually get up to commute to the office . This has been really great because not only will it prepare me for returning to work , I also get to enjoy an extra 2 hours of quiet time in the morning until then . I have also started eating at set times and going to bed at the same time every night . This routine has helped my anxiety a lot already .
- Reaching out and visiting loved ones face to face – to get used to socialising again, this week I’ve been making an effort to reach out and meet my loved ones face to face ( socially distanced of course ) , rather than just texting them all the time . I’m not going to lie , it has been a bit challenging , but I figured the more I do it , the easier it will become.
- Taking one day at a time – my mum used to always tell me that there is no point in worrying about what might happen because there are some things that you just can’t control. I’ve definitely been listening to that advice lately . Instead of panicking about how anxious I might feel in the future , or whether or not I’ll be able to cope with lockdown lifting completely , I’m trying just to focus on what’s happening right now . Self help books and meditation have been helping a lot with this .
- Being kind to myself – I’m sure that we can all agree that 2020 has been a rollercoaster of a year so far . When I feel overwhelmed , I try to remind myself that we are living through a global pandemic . It’s not easy for anyone and it’s perfectly normal to experience ups and downs.