Are you experiencing "re-entry" anxiety post-lockdown? Let's talk about why that's normal. - The Indigo Project

Are you experiencing “re-entry” anxiety post-lockdown? Let’s talk about why that’s normal.

So, you’re feeling anxious about coming out of lockdown? Let’s talk about why that’s completely normal and our tips to cope:

Does it seem like everyone but you is keen to re-enter society?

Whilst your friends and family may be pumped to get back “on the beers” and back to a COVID normal lifestyle, you may find yourself experiencing a sense of dread at the thought of interacting with others again.

It’s been a shit time, but we can help

For many of us, we have been forced to isolate over an extended period, avoid social situations, and learnt that there is a threat within our social environments. Psychologically speaking, this is exactly how social anxiety develops.

Social anxiety is a common mental health condition where social interactions cause irrational anxiety. Symptoms may include excessive fear of situations in which you feel you’ll be judged, worry about embarrassment or feel concerned about offending someone.

As we return to social environments that may now bring on anxiety, these next few months may be the most challenging for some. Just as it took time to adjust to lockdown, we should also expect that it can take time to reconnect with life outside and navigate the new normal.

If you would like professional support, our practitioners at Indigo are here for you.

Indigo’s tips to manage ‘re-entry anxiety’ as we exit lockdown:

1. Start small

Recognise that there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to pacing yourself as you re-enter society. Do what feels right for you. This can look like setting clear boundaries for yourself e.g. seeing a small group friends on the weekends once a week at first until you feel safe and comfortable with this change in routine. Try not to pressure yourself into doing things you don’t want to and discuss any concerns you may have with those close to you.

2. Build up your tolerance

Whilst it’s important to work at your own pace, for growth, it is equally important to give yourself a challenge here and there. Once you begin getting back into the swing of things, you can start to slowly build upon your social interactions and outings. Try not to beat yourself up if things didn’t go as planned, the point is you tried, and we are all trying to navigate this year as best we can.

3. Change up your day

Life has been like Groundhog Day for many. Try to spark some novelty in your days by changing up the ole routine. This can be as simple as reading a new book, learning a new recipe, catching up with a friend you haven’t seen in for some time or re-organising your space (hello new plants?).

4. Control the controllable

It can be easy for our minds to focus on the many things that are out of our control, e.g. the actions and behaviours of others. Shifting our focus to what is in our control e.g. eating a balanced diet, exercising, spending time with those who make us feel our best etc. can help us gain a sense of hopefulness and manage anxiety-provoking situations.

5. Check in with yourself

Arguably the most important tip. Remembering that despite restrictions easing, this time has been, and still is unprecedented. Try to check-in with yourself, what are you thinking about? How are you feeling? Engaging with your thoughts and emotions regularly can help clarify your next step to get you back on your feet.

PS. kindness is key

Feeling anxious is a normal response to an abnormal situation. Be kind to everyone as they re-engage in social environments (hot tip: remember to show the same kindness to yourself!)

EMILY SINGLETON
Psychologist

SHAUNTELLE BENJAMIN
Psychologist

LIZ KIRBY
Counsellor & Coach

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