While we are all welcoming the attempt at regaining normality after the uncertainty and worry of the past few months, coming out of lockdown and going back into society comes with its own set of issues. Not the least of which being that this virus still has no vaccine, is still prevalent and doesn’t really show signs of going anywhere anytime soon. When you look at it that way, is it any wonder we’re all a little bit concerned?
For my disabled clients the worry is intensified. Many are vulnerable to illness and are already coping with anxiety and depression that have worsened during the lockdown. Coming out of it into a changed world is a big step for them and one not to be taken lightly. There are however many things we can all do to make the transition a little less stressful.
Go at your pace.
Just because the Government says it’s ok to go to restaurants or bars or go to your friends’ houses, it doesn’t mean you have to do it. If the idea makes you uncomfortable or you’re worried about any potential health implications then explain the situation and if they’re any kind of friend, they’ll understand. Take your time.
Build yourself up.
Start with short bursts of leaving the house and gradually build those up over time. Try doing something every day that challenges you but if you don’t manage it one day don’t beat yourself up! Look at the things you have achieved and celebrate the wins no matter what they are.
Anticipate the challenges.
If you have to go somewhere like a shop or a meeting, plan the trip beforehand. Think about who you might come into contact with and what challenges that might create so that you can work out different possible solutions before you’re thrust into the situation. For some of my deaf or hard of hearing clients who lip read, the wearing of face masks is causing considerable issues so they are spending time working out how they’re going to manage those tricky situations.
Maintain your self-care routine.
Whatever methods you came up with to cope with the lockdown in the first place can still be beneficial! If you learned how to meditate, took up a new hobby or started an exercise regime don’t let go of it because the situation is changing. Work out how you can fit it into your new routine and remind yourself of how it helped you.
Look at what you can and can’t control.
A biggie and easier said than done but so worthwhile if you give it a try. Make a list of all the things you can control and all the things you can’t and you might be surprised about which list is longer. With the things you can’t control think about why you can’t control them and how that makes you feel. Ask yourself what worrying about this uncontrollable thing will do for you and if the answer is nothing then try to put it aside and focus on what you can change.
Allow yourself to be scared.
It’s ok to be scared or afraid right now. Your fears and worries are completely valid and don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise. Reach out to a friend or someone you trust and talk through your feelings with them. If those ideas don’t allay your fears or you’d prefer not to confide to people you know try talking to a mental health professional, that’s what they’re there for. You won’t be the only one struggling to deal with the situation and a professional can give you advice or an action plan for moving forward.
When it comes down to it there’s no right or wrong way to deal with anxiety. But there is a right way for you, so whatever it is, go with it. Take it one step at a time and understand that it may take time to readjust just as it took time to adjust to lockdown. Go easy on yourself, you’re doing the best you can.