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Coping with lockdown easing

As restrictions are lifted, life is expected to return to “normal”. And while this is a positive step in the right direction, for many it will feel quite scary – and that’s understandable. It’s perfectly natural to feel anxious and it’s important to know you’re not alone. There’s no right or wrong way to feel.

I'm anxious about lockdown restrictions being lifted

We’ve all spent a long time following guidelines to keep ourselves and others safe. This has meant we’ve had to stop doing some of the things we enjoy, seeing some of the people we care about most and it hasn’t been easy, for anyone.

For some then, this easing of restrictions will be welcomed, even exciting – but this won’t be the case for everyone. Life is changing, it’s going to take some getting used to and it’s very natural to feel anxious about it.

But there are lots of reasons you might be feeling anxious or out of sorts as restrictions are eased, and you won’t be the only person feeling this way.

I am very anxious about going out and concerned about how I will adapt for the future... I have lost all my usual pointers for how to behave. 

I'm worried about catching or spreading coronavirus

As restrictions ease, you might be worried about catching or spreading the virus. You might feel scared or nervous about going out and about, or be worried about your health – especially if you’d previously been asked to shield.

But just because restrictions have been eased, it doesn’t mean you have to stop doing the things you’ve been doing to feel safe. You can still wear a face covering, avoid crowded places and keep your distance where possible.

If you're worried about how you can keep yourself and others safe, you can read more things to think about here

I have never had any mental health problems before 2020 but now I know what panic and anxiety feel like. 

I don't feel as confident as I used to

After such a long period of being at home the thought of getting back into our normal routines and doing the things we used to do can understandably seem difficult. It may even be that some of the things you used to look forward to now make you a bit nervous.

Your health might have got worse over the course of the pandemic and you might not feel so steady on your feet. If your health has got worse, this in itself can leave you feeling low and less confident than you used to.

If you're worried about your health or you don't feel as steady on your feet, you can read more about ways to look after yourself here

I've lost confidence being out on my own, I doubt my abilities in tasks that used to be conducted with ease.

I feel more lonely and isolated than I used to

For many, if not all of us, this period has felt isolating. Whether it’s socialising with friends and family or just a friendly chat at the supermarket checkout you’ve missed, the lack of contact with others may have left you feeling low.

It might be that as things start to open up, you’re worried that the people that have been checking in on you might not do it as much as they did before.

If you feel lonely and low, it can be particularly difficult if you know meeting up with others and getting out and about would help but you’re feeling anxious about doing so.

If you're feeling lonely there's more information about ways to stay connected here

I have felt very lonely and isolated. Friends seem too involved with their families to keep friendships going - they don't need us as much as we need them!

Someone I know died during lockdown

For many, life has changed and you may be finding it hard to think about life going back to normal. For you, things may always be different, especially if you have lost someone over the course of the pandemic you may find it particularly difficult or upsetting to see people enjoying themselves and life moving on. If you lost a loved one to coronavirus you may worry that people will forget about them and your loss.

If someone you know has died during lockdown, we have more information that can help you both practically and emotionally here

I had the virus in March and also lost my lovely wife with this terrible thing. Very lonely and painful having to get through the loss the way things are.

What can I do to feel better?

Whatever the reason for how you're feeling, there are things that can help.

  1. Talk to others about how you’re feeling. Letting others know you’re feeling anxious, sad or a bit overwhelmed by everything going on can really help. Not only will it help take the pressure off and help you do things at your own pace, but it can provide support and understanding from those around you. You might be surprised to find those you care about most are experiencing similar feelings.
  2. Go at your own pace. Everyone will feel comfortable doing different things, but don’t feel pressured or push yourself into doing anything that makes you uncomfortable. Likewise, be sure not to pressure anyone into doing things at your pace.
  3. Set manageable targets. Although you may be tempted to avoid things altogether, this can make things more difficult in the long-term. You may want to write a list of the things you are worried about doing and try to challenge yourself to do them. Start with the easiest things, such as going for a walk or coffee, and as your confidence grows you can work up. Rather than do too much too soon or avoiding everything, take steps to make things manageable. Maybe you could adjust plans to do things outdoors? Or take a list and go to the shops at quieter times?
  4. Enjoy the positives. It’s OK to have mixed feelings – maybe you’re anxious about some things but quite looking forward to others. Focus on the things you’re looking forward to and if you set targets, celebrate reaching them. Don’t be disheartened if there are certain steps it takes longer to take, just do what you can.
  5. Remind yourself that all feelings are valid. It might be that you begin to feel better, and it’s important to allow yourself to feel this way and begin enjoying things and feeling more comfortable. However, there might be days when you don’t feel comfortable doing something you’ve been getting used to again or things might suddenly feel overwhelming – and that’s OK too. 

I'm worried about my mental health and how I'm feeling

Though the tips above may help, they may not. You might have tried them and not felt much better or be finding it difficult to find the motivation or energy to get started. You may be worried about how you’re feeling or about thoughts you’re having.

Again, you aren’t alone in feeling this way. The impact of lockdown shouldn’t be underestimated and it can take a real toll both physically and mentally.

If you’re worried about how you’re feeling or you've been feeling this way for some time, you should talk to your doctor. Your doctor will be used to talking to people about their mental health, and won’t judge you. But they can help. They may refer you to talking therapies or prescribe some appropriate medication.

If it’s an emergency and you’re worried about yourself or others, call the Samaritans on 116 123 at any time during the day or night to talk to someone about how you’re feeling.

Are you worried about how you're feeling?

If you're worried about how you're feeling or thoughts you're having you can call the Samaritans at any time on 116 123.

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Last updated: Oct 08 2021

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