Mental health and wellbeing

22.07.2020

Updates to Government guidance will mean changes for many people over the coming weeks, particularly those who have been shielding.

Some people can’t wait for the changes to happen, others feel unprepared and worry about the consequences of lockdown easing.

It can feel stressful when things are changing so fast. Anxiety often comes from a fear of the unknown and life after lockdown is exactly that. Many things are out of our control and make us feel anxious and uncertain about what is going to happen.

Mental health charity Mind have identified a number of feelings you may relate to about the thought of lockdown easing. You may feel:

  • Stressed and unprepared for the changes that are happening
  • Anxious and worried that a change in the rules might mean a greater risk of getting coronavirus.
  • Torn between wanting to socialise but also feeling you should stay at home.
  • Under pressure to attend social events or meet-ups with friends and family or return to work when you don’t feel ready.
  • Anxious about those you care about – you may be grieving for the loss of someone close to you and want to avoid more loss.

Routines are really important to many of us and help us feel safe and secure. When we were in full lockdown and rules were clear about staying home to stay safe and save lives, things may have felt more certain. We had to adapt to staying at home and finding new ways of doing things and new routines which helped us feel safe.

Now as things are changing we may feel less clear and the thought of leaving ‘our safe place’ can be very daunting. It is also difficult at the moment because the threat of the virus is still with us. You may feel protective of your lockdown routine and feel like you’d rather not have to deal with more change and uncertainty.

Everyone’s experiences of lockdown are different and everyone’s feeling about lockdown easing are different. It’s important for us all to remember everyone will be dealing with things differently and that is fine.

Remember we are all different and there is no right or wrong way to feel!

Mind advises that there is no ‘normal’ response to lockdown easing and feelings may change each day depending on your personal situation and what lockdown has been like for you.

Many people who have been shielding haven’t been further than their garden, the end of their drive or their doorstep for the weekly clap for carers and haven’t driven for months.

Remember, just because lockdown easing means you can begin to do more, you shouldn’t feel under pressure to do something you are not comfortable with. It’s okay to say no!

If you do want to begin to venture out, try taking gradual steps to build your confidence while staying safe. think about the things that are causing you concern.

  • Going out – If you have only been as far as your garden or the end of your drive, you could try walking a little further each day and gradually increase your confidence.
  • Driving – If the thought of driving again is making could you walk or cycle instead? You can also visit our advice page for ‘Getting back into the driving seat’.
  • Going out alone – If you are worried about going out alone, could you arrange to go out with a friend while keeping the recommended distance between you?

It can feel overwhelming but these tips from Mind can help:

  • Get practical support from organisations who can help -Visit the coronavirus useful contacts page for information.
  • Talk to someone you trust – It can be hard at first but talking about the way you are feeling can help you feel better. If you would prefer to talk to someone you don’t know you can call the Samaritans for free on 116 123 or visit their website, www.samaritans.org.
  • Make choices to control what you can – Although the coronavirus outbreak means that your choices are limited, try to focus on the things you can change. It might be helpful to list the things you can change on one piece of paper and all the things you can’t on another.
  • Express your feelings creatively – You might find that it helps to express how you are feeling about the easing of lockdown by writing, drawing, painting or any other creative way that feels helpful to you.
  • Ask for help – Remember it’s ok to ask for help if you are struggling with your mental health. A good place to start is by speaking to you GP or you can call the CWP helpline on 0300 303 3972 (Open 24 hours a day, seven-days a week).

Useful links

Mind – For more information and support for managing difficult feelings and experiences on Mind’s website. You may also find the following helpful: