Adjusting to ‘normal’ life after lockdown
by MITA MISTRY
LIFE is looking brighter with lockdown restrictions easing, but what if you are feeling anxious about it?
If you are, that’s normal. You are not alone. Given that none of us anticipated living through a global pandemic or ever thought that leaving our homes could be risky, it’s entirely understandable that adjusting to changes will occupy our mind and play with our emotions.
But you don’t have to worry too much because over the last year, your body has been in ‘fight or flight’ mode – the natural response to stress, which makes you incredibly resilient. We’re exemplary at this survival mode, so no matter how stressed you feel about life after lockdown, remember that you’re a survivor.
There are simple steps you can take to keep your mind adaptable to upcoming changes. Avoid dwelling on the past or trying to recreate it, as it will frustrate you. Try to focus on creating a new now instead. If you aren’t already, practice mindfulness or mediation. Both tools, used strategically, could be the best form of self-care to nourish your mind during stressful times. Not only are they amazing for staying present but having a fresh perspective and heightened clarity also allows space for new possibilities.
You might not be where you want to in your life after lockdown and that’s ok. To help, avoid big changes immediately. Be kind to yourself, let go of unnecessary pressure and take one step at a time.
If you are feeling overwhelmed at the thought of a ‘normal’ life, a natural response can be to avoid situations altogether. But this can backfire and magnify your feelings of fear or worry. Stay connected as best as you can. Try not to bottle things up and ensure you talk openly and honestly about how you feel. We cope much better together.
Since we have spent so much time indoors, take a moment to check your old routines and perhaps consider re-establishing some of them, like a regular sleeping time or waking up earlier to help transition into the new.
Now is also a good time to make plans to do stuff you love, like meeting a friend for coffee, visiting a bookshop or going to the gym. It is useful to make a list of places you want to visit and people you wish to see. Having small realistic goals give us a sense of making progress without getting overwhelmed. And it’s exciting to have things to look forward to.
In lockdown, the slower pace of life has meant less pressure to attend social gatherings. Before jumping into social activities, consider reflecting on what really matters and is important to you, rather than doing what you think you should do.
Whatever you feel towards the new way of life, remember that it will take time to feel a sense of normality again. And it’s fine if it takes you longer to adjust than others. Everyone is unique and responds to situations differently; there is no right or wrong approach.
But ultimately, a lot of our anxieties stem from not trusting that we have what it takes to be ok. And let me tell you, you absolutely do.