Things are very changeable at the moment. Our counsellor Leigh has put together some advice and tips on how to mentally cope at this time.
Finding a new normal as we come out of lockdown.
As the number of coronavirus cases drop and lockdown is starting to be eased, how are you feeling? Are you excited or scared? What’s clear to me from talking to a range of people is that for many the ease of lockdown is causing a lot of stress, fear and anxiety. After months of being told to stay indoors and keep safe we are now being asked to do the opposite. Go to work, which may involve public transport and send our kids back to childcare or school. However, there is still a threat out there, albeit diminishing, and as we can see around the world and closer to home in Leicester second waves do happen. This is anxiety-provoking for many of us. It can be particularly scary if you have an underlying health condition and are taking medication, which can leave you more vulnerable to the virus.
Uncover your fears to find a solution
There are many websites offering advice on how to cope or manage the transition back to normality which can be good resources. From my experience of working with people, I often find that the solution lies within the person experiencing the problem. You will have your own personal viewpoint. A catalogue of experiences both good and bad, along with which come individual worries and fears. It’s natural and normal to want to run from our feelings. However, the answer to your struggles could be found by first exploring them. Why not try spending some time thinking about what exactly it is you are worried or scared about? Better still write it down. This has been proven to make a big difference. Getting it out of your head can help stop your thoughts spiralling. Another good way to tackle your worries is to discuss it with a friend or family member. Someone you trust or can confide in. This can help clarify exactly what you are concerned about. They may have some useful suggestions or be feeling the same.
Once you have a better idea of what the specific problem is, you will be more able to find a solution. You can only problem solve if you have identified the issue! You might be able to find a way around it or a coping strategy that helps. Maybe even feel better, by being clearer about your concerns and fears. In fact, I often find as I start to explore an issue with someone that along the way solutions start to appear and once defined, problems often feel more manageable or smaller.
You are now better prepared to take on the future
Its easy to forget that we have all managed to get this far. In some ways, the scarier times are behind us. When we were out and about prior to lockdown, we didn’t know about the virus and the world hadn’t realised the extent of the problem. We were taking much bigger risks, as we and others were taking little or no precautions. Now there is a lot more in place to protect us all. We are armed with more specific knowledge of how to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe. Many places are now set up and Covid safe following extensive risk assessments.
Take control of the change by slowing it down
One thing that can help is to slow things down. Just because you’ve been told you can go out or can now see people doesn’t mean you have to. It’s possible for you to come out of lockdown in your own way, at your own pace. Take one small change on at a time. Coming into lockdown was gradual and took time to adjust to. Coming out will be the same. So why not keep up what has been working for you? Just add one small step each day or at a time, until you are where you want to be. If you are not coping well at the moment, try some of the ideas in my previous post about keeping safe and being proactive to cope with adversity.
Some of this change will feel out of your control. For instance you may have been told to go to work or to a health appointment. But even in such situations, we are able to control something. We can wear the appropriate PPE, keep a safe distance or try requesting to continue working from home for health reasons or delay your appointment if it’s not urgent for another month or two till you feel safer to go.
Focus on what you want
Our minds tend to focus on the dangerous aspects of life. Unfortunately, this does mean the dangers get magnified or seem bigger! It’s a strange function of the mind that is designed to keep us safe but now can cause us needless anxiety. What would it be like if you focused on what you are looking forward to as lockdown eases? The things you’ve missed doing, or people you’ve missed seeing? It may feel easier for you to face the challenges when you know that you are going to be rewarded at the end. Alternatively focus on things that you know you can do to keep yourself safe, the things that are within your control.
The reassuring thing is you are not alone in this and help is available. So if you feel you could benefit more from exploring any of these areas in detail or are just plain struggling, get in touch and I can point you in the right direction or we can arrange a session by telephone or skype.
Feeling anxious or worried? You can book an appointment with Leigh by emailing email@example.com or calling us on 0118 901 6000