It’s been four months since we – England – went into lockdown and were quickly forced out of our normal routine and had to adapt to a new reality. Now as more lockdown procedures are taken away, we face a new challenge – going back to how things once were.
But are we? Can we go back to how things were? Can we simply throw off the masks and go to the pub without a moments hesitation? Not without our good friend anxiety tagging along.
So how can we ease back into our new routine whilst checking in with our mental health?
Continue to wear PPE where appropriate or advised
As per government guidelines we have been advised to wear masks on public transport and in retail shops, however you can continue to wear a mask in public in other places or when socialising from a distance to help reduce anxieties. Also, if we are trying to focus on the positive: there are some really pretty patterned masks available- more environmentally friendly and it makes it more fun wearing something colourful, another accessory to work with! Remember to wash your mask after each use and change your mind every 3 hours.
Furthermore, try and keep a bottle of hand sanitiser with you at all times to help put your mind at ease when out and about. Wear gloves also if this helps you feel more at ease.
Socialise/go out only if you feel comfortable
Now that the pubs, restaurants and cafes have reopened it feels like normality is being restored. However for some people, like myself, it can feel a bit too soon. After being isolated for so long it can take time to readjust and feel comfortable going out in public or meeting up with friends.
Don’t be afraid to say no. It’s important that you feel comfortable and don’t rush into anything. Take your time. Be honest with your friends, perhaps you can stick to zoom/facetime a little while longer until you feel better about leaving the house.
I know for people like myself who are key workers we don’t always have the option of working from home, but we can have control about where we spend our leisurely time.
Reach out for support
If you feel your anxiety is flaring up due to the changes, speak to your GP. Therapy is still available online – we recently discussed how to prepare for online therapy on our blog.
It’s okay to ask for help, these are troubling times for us all and it’s important we do ask for help if we need it. There are still amazing charities working through the pandemic that can help, we have a list here.
Try and keep up a routine if possible
It’s important to keep your mind busy to keep the negative thoughts at bay. We created some tips here on how to distract yourself from your anxieties. It is important to remember though to not put pressure on yourself to use this time ‘productively’. Set yourself healthy and realistic goals, some people may have a goal to learn a new language, others may set themselves the goal of having a shower when feeling down and uncertain.. and that’s okay!
Furthermore, try to keep up your usual self-care routine. Read that book, have a bath, go for a walk – the small things can make a big difference. Especially if you are working from home, it can be benefical to go out for a leisurely walk to have a change of environment (you can read more about our tips for working from home here).
We really hope you are looking after yourselves during these uncertain times. Please do reach out, do not struggle alone. If you have any advice or tips to add please comment below!