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Blog: Feeling anxious about lockdown easing? You’re not alone

Published on 16 April 2021 11:01 AM

With days getting longer, better weather on the horizon and lockdown restrictions easing from today (Friday 16 April), some people can’t wait to be out and about more. But if you’re feeling apprehensive about things returning to the ‘new normal’, you can rest assured you’re not the only one.

The coronavirus outbreak has changed how we live day to day and we’re still living through unfamiliar times, so it’s completely natural to feel overwhelmed. As we head into this first weekend of reduced restrictions, take a look at some of our tips on managing post-lockdown worries.

Take things one step at a time

There’s no one right way to handle this situation. It’s up to you to set your own boundaries and go at your own pace - don’t feel pressure to compare your response to anyone else’s. Everyone will be feeling differently, so treat yourself with the same kindness and compassion you would a loved one.

You may have noticed a loss in confidence as you’ve been interacting less with others or spending more time alone during lockdown. Don’t feel bad for declining invitations if you feel overwhelmed with too many at once, as this confidence will take time to build back up.

Sometimes small adjustments can be easier to accommodate than sudden changes. So don’t be afraid to start small - like meeting a friend for a coffee or a garden chat – before building up to bigger things like visiting restaurants or meeting a larger group.

Stay informed

Even those who are excited about the freedoms that come with lockdown easing must ensure they continue following all official guidelines, including social distancing and wearing face coverings if and when required. As restrictions continue to ease we’ll return to a tiered system, so it’s important to keep an eye on the situation in your local area.

It’s important to make sure the information and advice you’re reading comes from sources that are up-to-date, trustworthy and evidence-based. If you’re ever unsure what you can and can’t do, take time to refamiliarize yourself with the timetable for lockdown easing and advice on local protection levels which are regularly updated on the Scottish Government’s website.

Keep in mind that some people have a legitimate reason not to wear a face covering. if this applies to you, you can get an exemption from face covering card at www.exempt.scot

Plan ahead

Having a clear plan before heading out can help you feel more confident. Choosing times of day you know will be quieter can help with anxiety about encountering larger groups, for example in busy shops.

If you’re visiting friends or family or receiving visitors yourself, discussing the measures you’ll follow beforehand might help ease any worries. Will you wear face coverings? How will you stick to social distancing rules? It’s much easier to stick to rules if you discuss them in advance and everyone is in agreement.

Reach out to others

Remember, if you’re struggling, don’t keep it to yourself. Speak to someone you trust about how you are feeling - chances are many people are in the same boat and would welcome the chance to talk about it.

If you’re feeling particularly low and finding it difficult to tell loved ones, mental health support services such as the NHS, Samaratins and Mind can offer additional support in confidence.

Further tips for managing anxiety and clearing your head can be found at www.clearyourhead.scot and, as always, our free helpline is available to any older person looking for advice, support or just to hear a friendly voice. Call us on 0800 12 44 222, Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm, we’re here for you.

You may be feeling anxious about returning to work, especially if your employer has made significant changes to the ordinary way of working to meet government guidelines. The social aspect of work may also feel daunting. Ahead of your return, speaking to your manager and reaching out to colleagues may help ease your mind.

Although it may seem daunting at first, we hope you’re able to enjoy lockdown easing, whether you’re looking forward to long-awaited reunions with family and friends, a trip to the local pub or just taking comfort in the return to some semblance of normality after a very difficult year.

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