Lockdown has been a difficult time for many people, especially many individuals within our NPUK community who may have been shielding or caring for friends and family who are currently, or have been, shielding. So, it might seem strange if you are feeling anxiety about the current easing of the lockdown across the UK. These feelings may arise due to the uncertainty that the easing of the lockdown bring about as in a full lockdown the rules were more clear, stay home to stay safe. This post aims to explain feelings you might have about lockdown easing and it also provides tips managing these feelings.
What might I be feeling about lockdown easing?
You might feel relieved or excited when lockdown is eased where you live. But you might also find yourself feeling less positive about the changes. You may move through a range of difficult feelings and thoughts.
• Stressed and unprepared for the changes that are coming.
• Anxious, afraid or panicked that the changes may cause an increase in infections. Or that someone you care about may now be put at risk when they weren’t before. For example if your children might be asked to go back to school or nursery.
• Angry or frustrated. Perhaps because people aren’t following social distancing rules, and now can’t avoid them. Or you feel that the changes are wrong, or the measures in place aren’t enough. Other people may seem to have more freedom than you, if you’re shielding or live somewhere with more restrictions. Or you may feel that the changes will make your work more difficult or higher risk, especially if you’re a key worker.
• Conflicted or confused. For example, you may want to socialise more if it’s allowed, but feel like perhaps you should still stay at home.
• Protective of your lockdown routine, like you’d rather not have to deal with more change or uncertainty after having to suddenly adapt to the previous routine.
• Distrustful of the Government’s reasons for changing the rules, or how things are portrayed in the media.
• Powerless, like you don’t have a say in anything that’s happening.
• Under pressure to return to work when you can’t, or when you feel it’s not safe to.
• Unsupported or disregarded, perhaps if you or a family member have been shielding and you feel that there is not enough government advice/guidance on easing this approach.
These feelings are all legitimate and totally normal. Just remember:
• There’s no ‘normal’ response to lockdown or lockdown easing.
• Your feelings might change. You might feel one way one day, and another way the next. It might not feel logical.
Your feelings might be influenced by:
• your personal situation
• what lockdown has been like for you
• your own views about what’s happened so far, and what should happen next
• lots of things that are out of your control.
As restrictions are being lifted differently around the UK, it might feel like others are following different rules to you. Your general mood may feel quite different to full lockdown, when most people were following the same rules.
What could help me manage these feelings?
Some of the feelings you’re having now may feel difficult to manage. For those of us with existing mental health problems, they may be particularly tough. You might find it useful to try some of these suggestions.
• Talk to someone you trust. It might feel hard to start talking about how you are feeling. But many people find that sharing their experiences can help them feel better. It may be that just having someone listen to you and show they care can help in itself.
• Express your feelings creatively. You might find that it helps to express how you are feeling about the easing of lockdown by writing, drawing, painting or any other creative way that feels helpful to you.
• Make choices to control the things that you can. Although the coronavirus outbreak means that your choices are limited, try to focus on the things you can change. It might be helpful to list the things you can change on one piece of paper and all the things you can’t on another.
• Seek help. If you are struggling to manage your anxiety around lockdown, it is ok to ask for help. You can always seek help, even if you just want a chat, with the NPUK Care & Support team on 0191 415 0693 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Researched and written by NPUK Communications Assistant, Eleanor Lily Taggart.