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How to Navigate Life Out Of Lockdown

Feel yourself shrinking away from a summer of fun when the end is so close? It’s been over a year since the UK went into its first lockdown and we finally have something to feel positive about: infection rates are dropping, vaccines are well underway, we’re allowed to meet friends (outside in groups of six), and soon we’ll all be allowed to go to the pub again. Woohoo!! Or not…

If friends trying to fill your diary with plans for every weekend is making you feel anxious, don’t worry. You’re not alone. It’s not even that we’re necessarily scared of getting Covid-19. No. It’s that we’ve finally started to adapt to this new way of life. Maybe it’s the extra hours we have now we’re not commuting, the consistent sleep pattern we’ve (finally) adopted. Or maybe we’ve been on a health kick: eating well, exercising, consuming less alcohol, and are feeling anxiety about how we’ll keep this up. Maybe we actually like this slightly slower pace of life. Maybe we actually like having more time to ourselves.

According to Cate Murden, Founder of corporate wellness and mental health company, PUSH Mind and Body, we can expect to feel some anxiety around ‘getting back to normal’. “It took us a while to adjust to a new lockdown routine, and I’m sure many of us felt anxious on some level each time we entered a new one (are we on three or four? – I’ve lost count). So, it’s only natural that the thought of having to adapt once again to a new routine can leave us feeling unbalanced.”

1. Plan your new post-lockdown routine:

One of the best ways we can combat anxieties around future changes is to prepare for them. Whether that’s planning exercise into your routine, keeping on top of your Spanish lessons, re-thinking your journey to work, or how to stick to your new non-alcoholic path, working it out in advance will feel immediately reassuring and calming. 

2. Set boundaries:

It’s OK to say no! Lockdown gifted many of us with the unique opportunity to be a bit more… selfish. And while we desperately want to safeguard our newfound simplicity, we also know there’s a strong chance we’ll head into May with a completely clogged diary. A simple values exercise can really help with this: 

  • Spend time thinking about your values? What makes you feel happy, joyful and fulfilled?
  • When invitations come up, check in with those values: do they align?
  • If someone makes fun of or disagrees with your new values (not drinking, taking an art class over a pub visit) maybe they aren’t quite the friend you thought they were. Harsh, but true.

Ladies face under sheets in bed

3. Ease your way back in:

Our sleep routines have likely changed, our eating habits and much more. If you’ve been rolling out of bed at 8:45am for your 9.00am team meeting (no judgement here), perhaps think about gradually moving your alarm back by 10-minutes a day, until you’re in line with your old sleep routine. Whilst it’s going to be tempting to hurl yourself back into your old life, be patient, and take it slow.

4. Acknowledge it:

Around half of us have admitted that we’re feeling anxious about lockdown ending, meaning you can stop worrying that you’ve suddenly morphed into an anti-social oddball. Be honest about your feelings to friends and family – chances are, you’ll be met with a resounding ‘SAME’, and talk about it. Talking helps.