Feeling anxious about returning to ‘Normal’ after Covid-19 lockdown?
7 Psychotherapist recommended coping strategies to ease back into ‘normality’.
With lockdown easing, many of us are working out what our new ‘normal’ life looks like now. So feeling a mixture of emotions is expected.
After numerous months in lockdown, expect to have a range of feelings, from excitement to finally do one of your favourite activities, or see a loved one, to feeling overwhelmed or anxious, possibly reluctant to leave the house or return to the office.
As a psychotherapist, I believe it’s an important time to share some strategies to help you cope with any feelings of post-lockdown anxiety, and ease you back into your new normality.
1. Expect a range of different emotions
I can’t stress this enough. It might feel counterintuitive to be anxious or reserved about returning to past freedoms, however rest assured it’s actually natural for such a major change to create feelings of uncertainty.
There will be many changes to adjust and adapt to. Some of your favourite businesses may no longer be open. Going to the movies while simultaneously navigating the popcorn, crowds and mask wearing may feel too much. For some of us, it goes much deeper, questioning whether the world is still safe. Some people take a little longer to get used to change than others.
Some people will be re-evaluating their lives and the people in them. Are the friendships you valued prior to lockdown, the same friendships you wish to pursue post lockdown? Maybe you’re questioning your career or purpose? Whatever it is for you, know that this is not abnormal to re-evaluate yourself and your life. In fact, it can be beneficial.
2. Ease back in
Anticipate an adjustment phase to reconnect with the world. Remember everyone will respond differently, so be kind to yourself and try not to compare yourself to others. Nor feel pressured to do things you’re not ready for. Everybody’s experience during lockdown has varied. As such, the approach we each take to adjust and settle back into a new groove is likely to be different and unique to each person and/or family unit.
The first time you meet a friend, with whom you usually share a warm embrace, may very well feel weird, when a masked wave is the new greeting. Don’t be afraid to set boundaries and rain check or turn down invitations you’re not ready to attend. Planning ahead may also help you ease back in. Consider the areas you are concerned about and see if there are alternate ways to approach them. Take some time to brainstorm, ask a partner or speak to the family if possible, and consider a problem-solving approach.
3. Talk to supportive friends
Take some time to visit and talk with friends who you feel comfortable with and supported by even if you have differing viewpoints. When you talk about your experiences and reflect on your challenges and learnings during lockdown, it can help with the way you manage and make sense of them. Your friends may be struggling with the same feelings and challenges too.
4. Reflect on your experiences
Reflect and share what new habits you want to take forward. Consider the gains along the way. Maybe you’ve realised your work life balance is out of whack? Or your relationships need nurturing or culling. Whatever it is, make a list of new habits you’d like to form and/or goals you’d like to work towards and create a plan as to how you can achieve them.
5. Book in a self-care activity or something fun
Evidence suggests self-care is an effective tool for reducing stress, strengthening relationships and improving physical and emotional health. Similarly, doing activities which you know you love and have fun doing will boost your serotonin levels. Activities like: sunlight, massage, exercise, remembering joyful events with a friend and laughing (to name a few) all help decrease stress and increase this happy hormone. You can find more self-care tips here.
6. Stay in the moment –protect your mental health
Maintaining a positive mindset is important. Deep breathing and meditation are a wonderful mindfulness practice you could implement into your daily routine. The pandemic has drawn many people’s attention to numerous factors beyond their control. So, when you focus on your health, mindset, fitness, family, work, plans, remember to remain focused on what is WITHIN your control. Set up routines that work for you, and limit the news and social media you read if you find them overwhelming or sending you down the rabbit warren.
7. Seek help early
If you notice you’re struggling with feelings of anxiety, worry, or fear as you strive to adapt to the changes. You may need some extra support if you’re having difficulty sleeping, feeling anxious, your appetite has changed, you’re extra emotional or irritable. Please contact us for support. There are also many free resources for mental health and wellbeing, and as your caring psychotherapists, we are here to support you through this change.
Taking extra care of your emotional wellbeing is paramount in helping reduce stress and anxiety as you navigate changes and move towards a new normality.
Do you need Counselling Support?
If you need counselling support, contact Kylie Lepri for a FREE 15-minute phone call to discuss your situation and find out how she can help. Call us now on 0404 032636 or book your free phone call online.
The team at Kylie Lepri Counselling are all registered Counsellors and Psychotherapists. Specialising in Individual, Relationship and Family therapy, providing support to clients all over Australia. Get Kylie’s FREE ebook: 5 Proven Strategies to help manage stress today, by joining her newsletter below.