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End of lockdown anxiety

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Published: 7 April 2021

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On Monday, the government confirmed the next stage of easing COVID-19 restrictions.

While the chance to meet more people outside, visit a larger number of shops and eat a meal in a pub all sound great after this long period of lockdown, it’s understandable that such a big change in the way we live our lives can cause many of us anxiety and worry.

The Health and Wellbeing team are back to help guide you through some of the thoughts you might be having as life starts ‘returning to normal’.

“Over the past year, we’ve all learned just how adaptable we can be.

The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have made us adapt to a unique way of living in ways none of us has ever seen before.

Over daily, weekly and monthly adjustments, we’ve established new routines, activities and boundaries in our lives.

2020 was the year that so much happened, and yet nothing seemed to happen at all.

Now, finally, we’re seeing the freedoms we’ve all grown up with slowly being reintroduced through the UK government’s Roadmap.

Thanks to the tireless work of the NHS, vaccinations are being administered at an amazing rate and ‘normal’ life is coming back.

So, with all this in mind, we should be feeling happy, right?

But what if you don’t? For many people, coming out of lockdown is as stressful and worrying as when we went in.

We’ve spent months changing, adapting and altering our lives to fit a routine where we now have some level of comfort and safety.

Boundaries, both in the home and the small worlds we live in, have been created and perfected.

So, it makes a lot of sense to feel anxious about returning to a life outside of lockdown, one where we’re expected to socialise with others and spend time around more people than many of us have all year.

How to cope

It’s important to be kind and compassionate to yourself, which can be hard if people around you are so happy about everything opening if you’re not feeling the same way.

But remember to take life at your own pace. Don’t be upset with yourself if you’re not ready for certain things yet.

It took a long time to settle into the pandemic way of life, so it’s reasonable to expect it to take a while to come out of it again.

Try speaking with someone you trust. That could be a close friend, a family member, or even us in the Health and Wellbeing team.

If you know events are coming up that are making you feel nervous, try planning for them well in advance so you’re more prepared.

When we see lots of different stories from loads of outlets, it can get confusing which leads to uncertainty and increased stress.

So, make sure you’re getting your information from accurate sources and staying up to date with the latest rules.

Keep an eye on the government’s COVID-19 pages and media organisations like the BBC, for example.

Plus, focus on the positives if you can. That could be something small like getting a coffee from your favourite place or being able to go back to that art gallery you love.

There are loads of things you can plan to do and look forward to.

Remember, you only have to go at your own pace. If you need to slow things down, that’s OK too. Just be kind to yourself.”

As a University of Sunderland in London student, the Health and Wellbeing Team are here for you.

If you’d like to speak with a member of the team confidentially, you can book an appointment online.

Get in touch through Compass, email them at londonhealth@sunderland.ac.uk or call on 0207 531 7343.

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