28 May Return-to-Normal Anxiety is Normal
As Australia begins to cautiously return to normal after its two-month Coronavirus lockdown period, some can’t wait to get back into the swing of “real life.” But for many others, returning to normalcy can feel a little daunting. After weeks on end of learning how to slow down, the hustle and bustle of heading back into the office, commuting, endless errand-running, and increased socialising can feel overwhelming.
If you’re someone who feels anxious or overwhelmed about re-entering society, here’s a few tips to make it work for you:
- Know your limits. Coronavirus has meant that we have said no to a lot of things – no to social get togethers, no to after-hours office drinks, no to weekend family visits – but just because the restrictions have eased, this doesn’t have to mean that you must become a yes man (even if you were previously). Are there things that you can still say no to now in order to maintain your zen?
- Apply lockdown lessons where you can. A lot of us learned how to go slow, really slow, during the lockdown period. Are there lessons from the lockdown period that you can carry through to normal life? Did you enjoy you cooking more, and eating out less? Did you find you walked to the shops more often than previously? Did you get out and enjoy the parks or the ocean more often throughout the week just to get some fresh air? Did you revisit old hobbies in your sweatpants on the weekend instead of filling your schedule with catch-ups and errands? What can you take from the lockdown style of life and apply it to the real world?
- Communicate. Maybe your partner or friends or family are chomping at the bit to get back to the way things used to be, and they might expect you to be on their level. If you’re on a different page and wanting to dial down the socialising, speak up for yourself and set boundaries with people where you can. Best not to bottle things up or go along with the flow if you’re really not feeling up for it, as this can breed resentment and conflict.
- Be kind to yourself. Things might ebb and flow – one week you might really enjoy the energy of being back to normal, another you might find you still wish you could work while only dressed properly from the waist up. Just as difficult as the adjustment to lockdown life was, reintegrating out of lockdown will require some getting used to. So have patience with yourself and with others as we all navigate how to re-enter society.
Finding it hard to return to normal? Seek the support of a professional – at Couples Therapy Melbourne, we’re offering face-to-face sessions as well as phone and video sessions, so you can still meet with a therapist without having to leave the house. Contact us at 1300 784 184 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact one of the national hotline numbers below for immediate support:
Lifeline: 13 11 14
Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467
Kids Help Line: 1800 551 800
Mensline Australia: 1300 78 99 78
Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4636
GriefLine: 1300 845 745