With the promise of an exit plan for this lockdown coming into place, I’ve been hearing a lot from my clients this week that anxiety levels are tending to crank up again.
I’m hoping it might be useful for you to hear the advice that I’m been giving my clients this week.
Are You Feeling More Anxious?
So why might you be feeling more anxious than you have been in the last couple of weeks?
Let’s perhaps compare this lockdown situation to jumping out of a plane. I’ve never jumped out of a plane myself but as I understand it, most people it seems as they jump, experience a feeling of total fear. They can’t quite believe it is actually happening. They are free falling and desperately hoping their parachute will open.
Then as the parachute opens, they feel relieved and they begin to enjoy being suspended. It isn’t quite so scary after all. They settle down and take it all in.
But then suddenly, and almost by surprise, they become aware of themselves heading at speed towards the ground. The ground seems to be coming quickly towards them and they are forced to shift their awareness so that they can prepare to land safely.
I believe this is like what is happening for us all now.
It’s like we all fell out of a plane when the pandemic was suddenly upon us, as we went into lockdown fearing for our health, fearing for those we love and for our incomes and in some cases fearing for our shelter.
A Time of Adjustment
Then we went into a period of adjustment. We’ve mostly gotten used to the idea of being in lockdown, trying to work as best we can from home and communicating by video online with friends and family. For many people, most of the time, this altered way of living hasn’t actually been so bad.
But now, as an exit plan is on the horizon, it’s like ground rush coming into land. We are being forced to move into a new kind of reality for the foreseeable future and we don’t know how we will cope or what it will mean for us in the medium to long term. A growing sense of uncertainty is stirred up again.
A New Uncertainty
So how might you help yourself mentally to cope with this new phase of uncertainty?
You must acknowledge and accept that we are entering a new phase. Telling yourself something like “This is just ground rush” will help you to keep this changing situation in perspective.
- Give yourself permission to feel wobbly with this transition right now. Say to yourself “It’s ok for me to feel a bit wobbly right now.”
- Remind yourself that we are all in the same boat. We are all needing to adjust. We are all in this together.
- Allow yourself to take stock of the lockdown period. Reflect on what you will remember. Ask your friends and family what they will remember. Think about the highlights that you will look back on and remember fondly, perhaps funny moments, intimate times, life-changing moments, moments of profound appreciation for how your priorities shifted.
- Take time to be grateful that you got that opportunity – that life slowed down enough for a short time.
When you take stock in this, you will find it easier to give yourself permission to ease into and to consider how you might best cope better with a new altered reality. Tell yourself “It’s ok for me to ease myself into a new reality.” Remind yourself that you will be in your stretch zone. Cut yourself some slack and tell yourself “it’s ok for me to make mistakes. It’s ok for me to do the best I can whilst I adjust.”
I hope this helps you today. I’m here if you need my support or advice. Do remember there are free resources on my website here to help you to keep on top of any stress.
Anxiety Expert – Anxiety Help Bournemouth & Christchurch, UK
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