The gradual easing of lockdown rules has brought a mixed bag of emotions for many. Whilst it’s brilliant that we are slowly being allowed to do all the things that we love so much again, it can be daunting suddenly having to leave the house after being inside for so long.
Even the thought of being able to do all of the joyful things that we’ve longed to do for so many months can be a troubling thought for many people as it comes with anxieties and stress, which can put a huge strain on our mental health. Here are a few tips for looking after your mental health after lockdown.
Ease yourself into the new routine
Just as we had to get into a routine of being at home day in day out, a routine for when you begin to come out of lockdown is vital for keeping your mental health under control. Just as you tried to get up and get dressed during lockdown, make sure that you are getting up at the same time each day when you’re coming out of it – even if you’re only back at work part-time. Try to set yourself small, achievable goals of getting out and changing your routine instead of expecting it all to happen overnight!
Keep on top of the latest advice
It’s completely normal to go through a whole range of emotions when you start to leave the house for shopping, meals and family visits. The government advice is ever changing, but make sure that you always have a quick look at the latest guidelines so that you know exactly what you’ll be walking out to and what rules to follow. This will give you a sense of control over the situation.
You may feel anxious and angry at people that are out and are not following the social distancing rules. Or you may feel that the guidelines in place are too tight or don’t make sense. You may even feel conflicted in your head about what the right or wrong thing to do really is. Don’t panic! Speak to your friends and family about how you feel. Try to gravitate towards more relaxing influences in your life and not towards people that will aggravate the situation for you or stress you further.
Online support groups are another great option for those who need a little extra help but may feel too shy to talk to those in their social circle about it in fear of judgement. Use the tools that you have on your fingertips in order to help you.
Here’s a useful link:
Expressing yourself creatively is another great way of easing yourself out of lockdown. You could keep a written journal of how you feel, which is a great way of getting your thoughts down on paper and understanding a situation as well as staying organised. If you’re more artistic then why not get out some pencils, paint or whatever other creative output you enjoy and give yourself some down time to express yourself. Finding an outlet for your creativity should help you feel much more grounded and ready to face the challenge of getting back to reality.
Remember that you cannot have control over every single thing that is thrown at you, but you can do an awful lot in terms of being in charge of your own actions and rituals before leaving the house. Keeping a mask and hand sanitiser with you at all times should mean you’re prepared for entering any shops or buildings that require this. You may find you’re much more comfortable with your own products at disposal which you know and trust.
So, no matter how daunting it may be, remember that you can do a lot to calm yourself down before leaving the house, and talking to loved ones can go a long way!