With the easing of restrictions and suggestions that we are closing in on the final chapters of the pandemic, there are numerous reasons to feel optimistic that we may soon return to a ‘normal life ’.
Just imagine no face masks, no Covid tests and no more social distancing, sounds good , right?
However it’s understandable to feel nervous and anxious about this new transitional stage and the changes associated with it. Trust me you are not alone if you feel this way.
Our minds and bodies have been on “Red Alert” for a long time now about protecting our health and any sudden changes to our behaviour may cause fear and confusion and an increased risk of social anxiety.
We may feel that we are under scrutiny and overthink our interactions with others around us leading to even more anxious feelings.
Here are my 5 top tips for coping with the easing of restrictions:
1.Drop feeling guilty
It’s okay to feel anxious and by acknowledging and accepting this it will free up your feelings instead of bottling them up. Changes are going to happen and you don’t have to be ecstatic about it. Chat to friends and colleagues you may be surprised to find you are not alone feeling the way you do.
2. Pace yourself
It’s going to be strange for all of us for a while as we meditate our way from where we were to where we are going. Others might be happy to jump right back into work, pubs and clubs whereas others might not be too keen.
What is important is that you increase exposure at your own pace and find what is comfortable for you, such as , continuing to wear a mask for a while. Furthermore be honest and open about how you feel in a non judgmental way. It’s not about being right or wrong, it’s just the way you feel.
3.Dealing with peer pressure
It can be difficult to hold your position when others around you are doing something different and you are getting pressurised into conforming. However a good way to deal with this is to explain how you feel and that you appreciate the way they feel and all you are asking for is reciprocation. Just be like one of the dragons on “Dragons Den”, when they don’t like the deal on offer they say, “I’m Out”.
4.Be present focused
Our bodies are always present however our minds can be in the past, present or future.
Using mindfulness techniques such as, 54321, can really focus our minds on the here and now. This can be easier said than done so practice is key , the more you practice being present the easier it will become.
5. Recognise your achievements
The last two years have brought on many changes, requiring adaptive behaviour at every turn. Just take time out to reflect on how you have managed this by being flexible in your work, family and social life. Nothing worthwhile is easy and by recognising you have come this far, all you need to do is trust yourself to keep going and be open about getting professional help to see you through to the finish line.
Anxiety and Phobia Management Specialist