How to Deal with Post-Lockdown Fear and Anxiety

All over the world, Covid-19 has entered its second wave. The pandemic has been well managed in Australia, with less than 30,000 infections so far. It's one of the lowest among developed countries in the world.

During the lockdown, everyone felt some level of anxiety, primarily because of their physical health. If you recall, even the World Health Organisation was not initially sure about how deadly the virus was. It was a period of "what ifs" for several families and organisations.

Right now, there's less uncertainty, but we still have snap lockdowns here and there. It's pretty tricky to plan important events because you don't know when another 3-day lockdown could be announced.

For people with experience of mental or emotional distress, this can be pretty challenging.

First, I should say 'good job' for making it this far into the pandemic. It's been over a year already. However, as we transition into a more relaxed "new normal", you need to be mentally prepared for the change.

For some, the relaxation of lockdown restrictions is a breath of fresh air. It's time to catch up on various activities and opportunities you couldn't do during the lockdown.

However, for others, it's not that simple. Of course, they're happy about the new opportunities. But if you're in this category, you may also feel some anxiety anytime you think about the impending change.

If you're experiencing some hesitation about embracing these newly relaxed lockdown restrictions, you're not alone. Because it's an impending change, feeling some fear and anxiety is a perfectly human response.

Thankfully, it's nothing you can't handle. Here are some tips that show you how to cope with fear, anxiety and uncertainty that comes with this change.

Recognise the things you can control

In everyday life, we are fearful or anxious about that are out of our control. For example, you hope that anyone you meet will be responsible enough to maintain their distance and adhere to other restrictions. However, you can't 100% determine everyone's actions.

It helps to have a plan for those things that you can manage. Even the ones that seem too easy to deal with. You would be surprised how a tiny detail can disturb your calmness for the day. So, identify those activities that you can control or manage, then spend time planning towards them.

Take it one step at a time

You need to find a balance between pushing yourself and pacing yourself. When you leave your home for social gatherings, only participate in activities that you feel comfortable with. The extent to which you participate is also essential. If you begin to feel uneasy during an activity, take a break or excuse yourself.

So, when should you push yourself? Some activities are essential for a successful day. Some work activities may fall under this category. These are areas where you would have to push yourself and take on the challenge.

Here's an effective method to develop your resolve:

Pick one activity that challenges you and attempt it. I suggest you choose one activity per day. Even if you don't complete the task, don't be disappointed. It's another opportunity to try again.

Identify how you're feeling about post lockdown

Working from home has been a challenge for most people, particularly if there are little ones to look after. And now, with most workplaces opening up again, there is the potential for challenging emotions with the return back to the office.

For example, there could be some fear of attending busy social functions or using public transport to work. These are understandable and valid feelings given what we have been through during 2020 and 2021.

There has been so much media coverage, and government alerts on why we've needed to avoid these scenarios for the health of ourselves and others. Naturally, we may feel uncomfortable going back into these situations.

Suppose that does sound like something you're experiencing, and it is impacting your ability to function. In that case, it may be helpful to identify and name these feelings and then unpack and explore those with a professional who could equip you with some practical strategies.

Wrap up

I hope these tips will help you to move into the post lockdown changes successfully. If you require some professional support during this challenging time, Theraply provides counselling in Australia with certified and experienced therapists.

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