Are you feeling insecure and anxious about life after lockdown? Rest assured, you are not alone in this. As governments around the world announce the removal of restrictions imposed during the lockdown, many people are concerned about their ability to readjust to normalcy. While most people yearn for the time they would live as before, there are outliers, who find comfort in all this and now tend to prefer the ‘life of confinement’, afraid to return to their social lives.
This “post-lockdown anxiety” includes the fear of leaving our homes and starting to meet people again. While the lockdown has worked well to slow the spread of the virus, it has added to the problems, contributing to heightened levels of social anxiety in people, already affected by social media and the ongoing coverage of COVID-19.
For anyone worried about getting back to work and adjusting to the afterlife lockdown, here are some tips that might come in handy.
#1 Accept the situation
For most of us, this is the first time in our lives that we are facing a situation that is forcing us to downsize our social lives. So knowing that things are going to be difficult for each of us can make us feel prepared for what’s to come. Understanding that it is a difficult time for everyone around the world and your colleagues in the workplace who are also struggling to find hope at this time of uncertainty will go a long way towards improving your mental state.
The more you accept the situation, the less anxious you will be to resume your work. In these times, it is not possible to stay in our homes forever. So, accepting the current situation and adjusting to the ‘new normal’ is the way forward.
#2 Stay Safe: Taking Proper Precautions
Lifting restrictions under lockdown doesn’t mean we can go back to our normal lives. We still have to wash our hands, wear masks and maintain social distancing. Likewise, we still have to avoid shaking hands during meetings and hugging after closing a deal. Taking these precautions will not only help alleviate our fears of the virus, it will also help ensure our safety and that of our co-workers.
Also, before returning to your work, make sure your workplace is safe. Keep a safe distance of at least two meters from your colleagues. Be sure to continue washing your hands frequently and follow appropriate health guidelines. Likewise, make sure that you and everyone else who works with you wear masks when you return to work. All these precautions will help you to contain your anxiety about contracting the virus to some extent.
#3 Drop your gadgets: Reduce screen time
The amount of screen time you spend browsing social media and news sites can increase anxiety levels. Keeping us up to date with the latest headlines can really help us become aware of the world we live in. However, we often fail to recognize the role this habit of constantly checking news feeds plays in increasing our anxiety levels.
#4 Don’t overwork yourself
While you’re back at work, allow yourself enough time to make your job easier. Take it easy and take it easy. Make sure that the situation at your workplace is not too tense and that you feel welcome. When transitioning back to your job, make sure you have enough time for all the things you were doing during lockdown – trying new recipes, gardening, or learning your favorite instrument.
#5 Avoid ending up in stressful situations
When traveling for work, make sure you leave early for the office to avoid the stress of getting stuck in traffic or being late. If you must use public transport, follow social distancing and be sure to wear a mask to mitigate the risk of contracting the virus. Likewise, try to clear delays at work as early as possible, make sure you prepare well for the presentation you must give to reduce stress and avoid confrontations with colleagues to maintain a healthy environment for everyone.
#6 Speak Up: Let your employer and colleagues know your situation
To ensure a smooth transition as you resume your work, you should discuss your situation, your mental health, with the people around you. In some cases, due to your mental health, your employer may consider allowing you to work from home. Under certain circumstances, the organization can help you a lot by providing equipment to help you establish your home office. On the other hand, a communication gap with the employer can also be a cause of anxiety. So it’s best to speak up and get feedback from your employer about any issues you are experiencing.
Likewise, for employers and managers, it is essential that they communicate emotional support to the people working under their supervision and help create a healthy work environment. They should be mindful of the fact that, under the prevailing circumstances, some of their employees may have anxiety about returning to work, facing difficulties in commuting to the office daily. Thus, it is necessary to encourage employees to express their concerns actively.
#7 Avoid arguing about the Coronavirus
As the Coronavirus situation continues to evolve, the number of affected cases will increase. While it is necessary to keep abreast of the situation, it is wrong to worry about the pandemic throughout the day. To avoid the anxiety resulting from the continued consumption of COVID-related news, it is best to restrict any conversation or debate about the pandemic unless necessary.
#8 take care
To ensure a proper state of mind, it is necessary to get at least six to eight hours of good quality sleep at night. This helps ensure you are billed for the next day and keep your mind in control. Doing breathing exercises and yoga can also help you feel relaxed. Also, taking care of your meals and having a balanced diet helps to have a healthy mind.
#9 Balance your work life and ‘fun life’
Consider a point to schedule some breaks between your work hours. While the pandemic doesn’t allow you to hang out with your friends and attend fun events, there are other ways to break up the monotonous work life. This can include simple activities like a short walk in the nearby park. Introducing the things you really enjoy into your daily routine can go a long way in lowering your anxiety levels and acting as ‘mind boosters’ to lift you up and make it easier to adjust to the ‘new normal’.
#10 Talk to the loved ones around you
Being open to your loved ones and discussing all your issues with them and seeking their opinion is perhaps one of the best and easiest methods to reduce your anxiety levels. This not only helps you but also the other person you are sharing your thoughts with if they are also suffering from social anxiety. Talking to someone you trust helps you clear your mind and make way for positive thoughts.
#11 Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
Cognitive behavioral therapy is used to improve mental health and is primarily used with people who suffer from anxiety and depression. It’s a clinically proven therapy that involves learning about how your thoughts affect your mood, helping you identify any destructive thought patterns, and then developing strategies accordingly to help change them. Therapy can also be administered effectively online and can be beneficial for people who have difficulty overcoming their anxiety through other conventional methods.
While the above methods seem very obvious and simple, they can be very effective in reducing your anxiety levels. However, if you feel that you are still finding it difficult to deal with anxiety, it is advisable to contact a psychologist as soon as possible.