Re-thinking our ‘new normal’ – Dealing with the anxiety of coming out of lock-down

This weekend marked an announcement on what many hoped would provide more clarity on what ‘coming out of lock-down’ means for the UK.

For a lot of us, this has created more anxiety and confusion around moving to the next stages of the process and what this means for us, our health and our families. Left wondering what life will be like in the coming months.

Whilst some are nervous around coming out of lock-down and feel it is too soon, others are anxious to get back to a ‘normal’ way of life again. Particularly those who are currently not working and want to start earning an income, or those who are keen to see their friends and family again.

I read something recently that said;

before we rush back to ‘normal life’ again, think about which parts of ‘normal’ you want to go back to

…and this resonated with me so much, I wanted to share it with you too.

Living in lockdown has given many people a different perspective on life. Questioning their purpose and what is important to them in life. This is especially the case where people have experienced adversity such as changes to their job or the illness or loss of a family member.

This has thrown up a lot of questions around how we want to live our lives going forward. Do we want to go back to how we used to be, or do we want to take this opportunity to change?

Whilst for some, this may mean considering bigger life changes; like a change in career. For the majority of us there are smaller things that perhaps we have noticed we have either felt more grateful for or have learnt we don’t want or need in our lives post-lockdown.

With this in mind, I invite you take some time to think about your time in lock-down.

Try writing one, or both of the below lists to give yourself a better understanding of what you’d like to be part of your ‘new normal’:

What have you appreciated during lockdown?

Think about:

  • What has fulfilled your 5 senses – smell, sight, sound, hearing, touch?
  • What small things have you began to notice you appreciate that you have noticed before due to slowing down or limiting your activities during lockdown?
  • What has been important to you during this time?

Examples could be; the smell of toast in the morning, time spent with my family, sunny days, having time to take a bath

What do you want to do when you are able to again?

Think about:

  • What have you missed doing during lockdown?
  • What have you realised you no longer feel you need?
  • What has become more important to you during lockdown?

Examples could be; meeting a friend in the park, a hug or physical contact with others, going to a coffee shop for a flat white, a trip to the seaside

When you have done this, pause for a minute to think about what have you discovered about yourself whilst writing these lists? Does the combination of these two lists of things present a ‘new normal’ you feel excited about and look forward to?

So how can this exercise help me?

Uncertainty of the future can be difficult to deal with and learning to manage our anxiety around this can help. But focussing on things that we can control and how we can shape our future can help to reduce our anxiety and give us hope.

I did this exercise with a client recently who was feeling overwhelmed with anxiety around when life would go back to the way it was before. She missed her friends, her part time job and being able to go out of the house to do the things that she normally would have before lock-down.

She felt that writing these lists gave her hope about a future which she felt is out of her control completely. And whilst she is unable to plan when she can do these things, she was reminded that at some point she will be able to do them again. Having a ‘bucket list’ of things she wanted to do has helped her to feel more in control over this very unusual and uncertain situation.

Hopefully this exercise will help you with this too. Enabling you to begin to make small changes to your activities during lock-down to focus on the things that are important to you and your wellbeing and providing a little bit of hope and excitement around the things you will eventually be able to do when you are able to.

Remember – it is ok to feel anxious right now. But finding little ways to help with this can help life feel more manageable during this time of uncertainty.

If you’re unsure of how to move forward with your anxiety about the future and want someone to talk this through with, contact me to start the conversation and we can explore this together.

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Based in Newbury, Berkshire, offering sessions both face to face and online.

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3 responses to “Re-thinking our ‘new normal’ – Dealing with the anxiety of coming out of lock-down”

  1. Thank you for this post, it verbalises a lot of the things that I have been thinking about too. It is a really worrying and uncertain time at the moment so it really helps to spend time focusing on the things that we can control.


    1. Thanks Lizandra, I’m glad you found it useful. Focussing on the things we can control can help remove some of the anxiety around the uncertainty we’re currently facing, but we can only really take each day as it comes right now. One step at a time 🙂


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