Are you dreading the lifting of lockdown? If so, you’re not the only one. While many are rejoicing at the thought of hospitality reopening and being able to socialise again, some are feeling incredibly anxious about it all.
When the restrictions began lifting after the first lockdown last May, experts coined the term ‘post-lockdown anxiety’. At the time, Anxiety UK reported a 430% rise in telephone calls from people feeling worried about the easing of lockdown.
For some, lockdown, life was simple. By being given a clear instruction of what to do (i.e. ‘stay home’), many felt safe and protected and found it easier to find purpose in their day. For some, not having to go to work was a novelty. Being able to avoid the stress of commuting and catching public transport felt like a blessing. And from a social point of view, not having to attend gatherings they didn’t enjoy was a huge relief for many.
Being alone for the last few months has been a relief for Naoise Dolan, author of the brilliant debut novel Exciting Times. In a recent article for The Guardian, Dolan described how socialising can often feel overwhelming as an autistic person, and the pandemic had lessened the pressures. It’s a reality faced by many.
Whether you’re on furlough or you’re still having to travel to work, there’s no denying that lockdown brings a slower pace to life. And this can be incredibly comforting. But with Lockdown 3 restrictions gradually beginning to ease again, many people are understandably fretting about the prospect and what will happen as a result.
If you can relate, here are some tips on mentally readjusting to ‘normal life’.
TIPS FOR ADAPTING BACK TO NORMAL LIFE
- Keep doing what you love
If lockdown brought you a sense of security or a new hobby, carry this across to post-lockdown living. Maybe a few minutes of yoga on a morning helped you get ready for the day, or your Saturday afternoon macramé session was the highlight of your week. Prioritise this ‘you time’ for when things go back to normal.
- Go at your own pace
Just because gyms, non-essential shops and restaurants are reopening, it doesn’t mean that you have to go. If you’d rather wait a while until you’re fully comfortable, do so. Even if you’re desperate for a haircut, your long overdue trim can wait a few more extra weeks (or however long it takes).
- Manage social expectations
If you’re feeling anxious about socialising in large groups again, it’s completely normal. Talk to friends and family about how you’re feeling. Explain that you might not be ready to meet up straight away. And if you’ve already been invited to a large summer gathering, don’t feel like you have to say yes. Boundaries are important—stick to them.
- Make use of being outside
The good thing about lockdown lifting at this time of year is the weather. As well as getting warmer, the days are getting longer, meaning you have more time to enjoy the outdoors. Socialising outside is safer (if you feel up to it), and fresh air has been proven to improve your mood and reduce stress. Plus, it’s a change of scenery. Win-win.
- Limit your social media use
Social media platforms can be a catalyst when you’re feeling down. Who wants to see people out enjoying themselves when the thought of doing so yourself makes you feel anxious? Restrict the accounts you follow to those that only publish content that makes you feel good. Better yet, limit your screen time or stay off it completely.
The important thing to remember about lockdown lifting is that—apart from going to work—you don’t have to do anything you’re not comfortable with. Take each day as it comes, and don’t feel pressured to do things if you’re not ready.
You’re in control, remember.
Jennifer Tate is a freelance copywriter based in Newcastle-upon-Tyne with over 9 years’ experience writing for fashion, lifestyle and fintech brands. Prior to setting up her own copywriting business, Jennifer lived in London, working as a freelance copywriter and film reviewer before moving in-house as the UK Editor of Wayfair.
Main image by Priscilla Du Preez.