As restrictions have eased further life returns even closer to ‘normal’, and as we are once again able to see friends and family and go out and about socialising, many people are finding this is bringing about increased feelings of stress, anxiety & unease - a ‘re-entry anxiety’.
Just as it took us a while to adjust to lockdown, so it’s reasonable to expect it might take some adjusting as we come back out of it, even if it is what we have looking forward to.
A survey of more than 8,000 Britons found that about 41% of people said their mental health was worse than this time last year, while over a third (36%) reported high anxiety when asked how they felt on the previous day.
While some people will want to jump straight back in to seeing friends and socialising like before, others will feel more comfortable taking things more slowly - there is no ‘right’ way to respond so do what’s right for you.
As people settled into a comfort zone that felt safe (although not what they might have chosen), they may feel reluctant to move on from this safe space into the unknown again.
Nearly half of Britons (47%) said they were nervous about socialising again, with 38% saying they’ll socialise less than they did pre-pandemic.
Moving out of our comfort zone can create a sense of uncertainty, which leads to ‘what if’-type worries and ultimately anxiety. This is what we experienced at the beginning of lockdown, and now we might be experiencing the reverse effect as we re-emerge.
So what can you do to help ease any anxiety?
The good news is, there are plenty of ways to stay resilient and manage any re-entry anxiety.
Research has shown that practising gratitude can make a big difference to your mental health.
So each day write down one (or more) things in your life you are thankful for. It can be people, experiences or possessions (I am so grateful to have a car for instance)
Question your worries
Another thing you can do is to consider how truthful your worries are. When we are ‘what if’-ing we are imagining a negative scenario - ask yourself how true it is that this will happen, (usually less than you are worrying about) and if it did happen what will you do?
- If it’s in your control, make a plan to solve it, or seek advice from someone else who can help you
- If it’s not in your control, accept that you can’t do anything about it, let it go, and focus on the things you can do.
You will soon find that the chances of the ‘what if’ happening is low, and if it did happen, you would manage and be ok.
Take things at your own pace
It’s important to remember that it’s OK to feel uncertain and nervous – this is a challenging time for everyone. If you’re experiencing ‘re-entry anxiety’ then remember to take each day at your own pace.
For example, if your office reopens, but you’re still allowed to work from home, build up your attendance in the office slowly and re-establish a routine that feels comfortable for you so that you don’t become overwhelmed, ditto with going out and meeting up with friends and social activities. Where possible do them at your own pace, but try to challenge yourself to do something different every couple of days, and keep note of what you’re achieving as your resilience grows.
Seek professional support if needed
If your anxiety or stress is affecting your daily life, you may want to seek professional help.
Hypnotherapy for stress & anxiety
Hypnotherapy is very effective for helping reduce feelings of stress, anxiety & overwhelm.
Hypnosis is simply a state of very focused attention. In this state your mind is more responsive to suggestion & in a hypnotherapy session these suggestions are designed to help you feel more, calm, relaxed, and able to cope.
If you’d like to find out how hypnotherapy can help you, fill out the contact form below & I'll be in touch soon.