On 24th March 2020, a number of restrictions, like we had never experienced before in the U.K., were enforced on us. Need I remind you, that we were queuing to be allowed into supermarkets where certain products were rationed, ‘non-essential’ shops and venues were closed, and the amount of time spent out of our homes, whilst wearing surgical masks, was monitored. This was a life that we quickly became accustomed to, albeit that many of us did not accept it. Wearing masks, keeping our distance, and working from home became our new normal.
Many restrictions in the UK and across Europe have been lifted, and many of us are already enjoying time with family and friends, the ability to travel and getting out and about more freely.
For many others, however, this ‘return to what we once knew as normality’ has brought with it only anxiety and dread. Many people are scared. They are scared of; returning to the office, travelling on overcrowded public transport, visiting busy hairdressers and supermarkets and that people have ditched mask wearing for open gestures of affection. People are scared of what they can, and of what they can’t see.
It took us many months to find a rhythm during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and it may take some people many, many more months to return to their old ways. The pandemic has been hard and even positive change can lead to anxiety, as it takes time to readjust to things we have not done for a while. Feelings of anxiety are likely to pass with time as we get used to the “new normal” but it’s important to do what we can to take care of our mental health.
A recognised NHS therapy website, Every mind matters, offers the following 11 tips to manage feelings of anxiety and make it easier to adjust:
1. Go at your own pace
2. Do not avoid things entirely
3. Get your information from the right sources
4. Discuss any changes with others
5. Make time to relax
6. Challenge unhelpful thoughts
7. Tell someone how you feel
8. Plan social occasions
9. Find routine where you can
10. Write down your thoughts
11. Focus on the present
You may not be feeling anxious yourself, but I would encourage you to #BeKind, to empathise and be patient with others who may be experiencing life quite differently than you are.