Life&Style writer Emily Burnett outlines her top tips for dealing with the transition back to normality
Having been in lockdown since March, many of us are feeling apprehensive about life getting back to normal. This is, of course, completely understandable. There is no denying that COVID-19 is going to be with us for quite a while longer, and the likelihood is that more of us will catch it in the coming months, especially as the strict rules are starting to be relaxed. According to a study by Ipsos Mori, 60% of people in the UK feel uncomfortable or anxious about the idea of returning to public places such as bars, restaurants and public transport as lockdown measures are eased.
According to the Independent , ‘re-entry’ anxiety could be caused by the fact that we have been safe at home for weeks, but once society gets back to normal we may begin to feel less secure. Having seen public places as dangerous locations where we could easily catch the virus, it might be difficult to break these associations and return to normal.
Luckily, there are some ways we can reduce ‘re-entry’ anxiety:
Only do what you are comfortable with
It is ok to take things slow. If you are still worried about getting infected, it’s fine to say no to meeting up with friends if you feel the risk is too great. By taking things a step at a time you will be able to gradually get used to the ‘new normal.’
Talk about how you are feeling
Chances are, a friend or family member is feeling just as anxious as you are, in which case you could work through things together and make a plan of how to proceed. If you speak to someone who is feeling less anxious, it will be interesting to see things from their point of view, and talking to someone more confident might set your mind at ease.
Keep a routine through lockdown and beyond
Having a sense of normality can be helpful. It will keep you grounded and make it easier to stay sane in lockdown, so when things do go back to normal, it will feel less like you’ve been on a long, albeit stressful holiday.
Do what you can within the rules
As things stand, you are able to meet up outside in small groups, with social distancing measures in place. The government are relaxing lockdown rules in small steps, so following each step as it comes will ease you back into normality. Another bonus to this is that meeting up with a few friends now will probably make you excited for things to get back to normal.
Look after your mental health
Do all the things that normally help you feel better. This could include exercising, keeping in touch with friends, eating healthily and maintaining a good sleeping pattern. If things do get challenging, don’t be afraid to ask for help from friends and family, or by giving your GP a ring.
Most importantly of all, remember that feelings of anxiety are completely normal in the middle of a pandemic. Whilst some restrictions will likely be in place for many months to come, it is never too early to prepare yourself for the reopening of society.
Check out our other articles about life in lockdown: