post-quarantine anxiety and how to cope

How are you feeling about lockdown easing?

There is no normal or right response to this, we are all individuals with our own way of thinking and processing circumstances and uncertainty. 

Some of us may feel relieved that there is a glimmer of returning to pre-coronavirus normality. There has been a significant rise in levels of anxiety and depression since the beginning of lockdown and feeling lonely has been identified as a major contributor to this.

For some lockdown has been a very unsafe place, due to domestic violence or mental health issues. For others lockdown has been a safe place, where we feel that we have an element of control in keeping ourselves and those we love safe and well. The easing of lockdown throws this into disarray. We may be once again overwhelmed by anxiety, ‘what ifs’ and catastrophic thoughts. What if there is a second wave? Should we send our children to school? What if I can’t cope?

 

If you need help for any of the issues mentioned above, please contact Refuge, GamCare, Samaritans or Cruse Bereavement Care via their helpline partnership here.

 

Although there is no certainty or easy solution to this, the one thing that we can influence is our thoughts.

When we feel uncertain, worried or low our thoughts tend to have a negative bias. We may imagine the worst scenario and our imagination is a powerful tool, we tend to believe our imagination. We fill uncertainty with negative predictions about the future in an attempt to create certainty. We believe this will prepare us to deal with the worst, when in reality it will sap our resilience, trying to cope with something that hasn’t happened and may not happen.

If you are having negative thoughts or feeling anxious about lockdown lifting, here are some tips to help you cope:

 

It’s okay not to be okay

 

An invaluable thing to do is to be compassionate with yourself, so rather than ‘I should be fine’, ‘It is understandable that I am struggling with this, a lot of people are’.

 

Trying is good enough

 

Try to minimise the shoulds and shouldn’ts, and when you notice you’re thinking in this way, try to replace them with alternative statements. For example, replace ‘I should be fine about sending the children to school’ with ‘I am not fine with this and that is okay’; ‘I should go for a walk’ with ‘I’m going to go for a walk’ or ‘I’m not going to go for a walk’. This may help to reduce guilt and stress and in turn motivate us.

 

Balance all-or-nothing thinking

 

If there’s a worst scenario there’s conversely a best scenario, and many scenarios between these. It can be useful to identify other less negative scenarios and to write these down, so when you jump to the worst conclusion, follow that with reading through the alternatives to give some balance to your thinking.

 

Not all of your thoughts are true

 

When we have a negative or catastrophic thought we often utilise emotional reasoning to support this thought, ‘I feel it so it is true’. Try to look for the factual, rather than emotional, evidence that both supports and doesn’t support this thought to enable you to identify alternative, balanced thoughts. If you struggle to find the evidence that doesn’t support your thought, ask others.

 

Don’t compare yourself with others

 

We imagine that everybody else is managing this situation better than us, this is often influenced by social media posts of happy families and creative, busy individuals. We often associate their virtual identify with their real-life identity, but anybody can create an online persona which is not reflective of their true self or life. We don’t truly know what they are thinking and feeling, we cannot mind-read and everybody is different.

 

Be kind to your mind

 

Moderating our negative thoughts can make a significant difference to our mental health and wellbeing. This can take time and effort, often at a time we lack motivation, but the rewards can be significant.

 

Therapy is for everyone

 

krysallis want to support you through this time. We offer counselling, life coaching and CBT. Not sure if you are having anxious feelings? Click here to read signs and symptoms. Please get in touch if you feel you need help.

 

For further information on how to handle your anxiety at home, Mind has some useful resources here.

 

GamCare and other helpline organisations have come together to reassure the people who need us that now we’re beginning to emerge from lockdown, our services are still here for you when you are ready to talk.

Contacting a helpline is a great way to talk to an expert and find the right support for you and your loved ones. The person you connect to will listen to what’s going on for you and guide you to the people and services you can rely on to help you get back on track.