Has your Mental health been affected by coming out of lockdown?
The ending of yet another lockdown seems to be everywhere and is hard to ignore. Whilst some people are finding this chapter exciting and long over-due, this is not the case for everyone. Here at Dandelion Therapy Services, we have a few tips that may help you or a friend in these anxious times.
Is it okay to be feeling anxious?
Yes, it is ok to feel somewhat anxious and nervous and you are not the only one. Some people are naturally a little anxious and not ready for big change so soon. Remember, everyone has been in the same storm during this pandemic, we are all just in different boats. Some may feel pressured to suddenly be more sociable than they are comfortable with, or fear that the virus isn’t completely gone and that this is all happening too soon. It is ok to feel this way.
Important things to remember.
You don’t need to feel pressured into going out and carrying on with the new ‘normality’. Go at a pace you are comfortable with. You don’t need to start everything again all at once straight away! A way to settle back into your normal routine could be to meet a friend in a location you are comfortable with. This could be on a walk or a quiet coffee shop, anywhere you will feel comfortable. If you know your friends are anxious or worried about coming out of lockdown, try not to pressure them into meeting up straight away or join an activity with you; everyone is allowed to move at their own pace. Invite them, but accept that they may not be ready just yet and it is not a reflection on you.
Need to get your feelings off your chest?
The answer everyone seems to give you, be honest with your friends and family and talk to people you trust. It is important to share with them how you feel and voice your concerns and worries you may have to people you know and trust. However, some people may not feel comfortable talking to their loved ones because they don’t want to worry them or feel they may not understand. If this is the case, call the Samaritans (you can find the number at the end of this article) or schedule a GP appointment and tell them how you are feeling. The Samaritans will be a comforting listening ear, or your GP can guide you in the right direction if they or you feel you need any further or professional help (in the form of medication or therapy). Counselling can be an enormous help to work through your anxieties and feelings. As therapists we are trained to help you find a way of coping and reduce stress by offering a safe place where you can explore the best ways for you to move forward.
Importance of internal feelings.
Whilst talking with others can help, sometimes it is important we just acknowledge our own feelings. If we try to ignore our feelings of unease or sadness, we sometimes create a bigger problem ourselves. A way to help sort through your feelings that many find useful is to write them down. This way, when you are writing them down you are able to ask yourself “what are these feelings trying to tell me?”. This is also a beneficial technique for those who struggle to voice they’re feelings and talk about them. Remind yourself that it is okay to feel the way you do and to not judge yourself or be embarrassed. We have experienced life changing events that may take us longer to process than we feel it should and that is ok. Another way to help is to try some mindfulness meditation. This is a calming way of bringing your mind back to present moment. It does not mean you have to sit crossed legged in silence for half an hour. It could just be 10 minutes to take time to yourself and sit how you feel most comfortable. There are many great apps available to help you meditate such as Headspace and Calm (available on android and IOS). Remember, you are not alone, and it is ok to feel anxious or worried.
Going back to work.
For many people, it is their work situation causing them to feel anxious. Many workplaces are understanding and acknowledging that returning to work straight away wont work for everyone, in realising this they are allowing more flexible working that fits what you are more comfortable with, even if you are meant to return fully. If you are anxious about returning back to the office or place of work, try arranging an appointment to talk and communicate how you are feeling to your boss. Whilst this may not work for everyone, it is a way to inform them of your concerns and possibly consider your options. We know it is not an easy topic and that it is possibly not something you are comfortable with, but you might be surprised at what your workplace can do to help. Please note, if you have or have had long term mental health problems, you may be entitled to reasonable adjustments as a person under the Equality Act.
When entering this new chapter, remember not to lose sight of some of the little things. We know that this may be scary but don’t forget to be proud of even the small achievements you make. We know its easier said than done and it may seem silly, but it is important to celebrate or congratulate yourself when you push aside nervous feelings and do something or achieve things you didn’t believe possible. Even if you are able to walk outside for a bit or visit a shop, recognise the small steps as they are just as important to help you make the big ones.
Most importantly, take good care of yourself and if you feel you are struggling, reach out, you are not alone. You don’t need to struggle alone.
If you would like to arrange an appointment, please book through our booking platform or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org
Samaritans number – 03330 0945717 or 116 123
Written By Lois Kennedy