May 31

Prepare For Life After Lockdown

As the world begins to ease its restrictions, or talk about what life will be like after lockdown, so many of us are planning who we will see and what we will do. There is a strong sense of freedom building with talk of meeting for drinks, staycations, going to our favourite restaurants and picnics in the park, but for some people, the idea of leaving lockdown is a frightening one. Read our top tips to reintegrate yourself into the outside world.

 
1. Re-establish Your Old Routine

 

Whether you have been working from home or have been on furlough, meaning spending more time with your family, our daily lives are looking somewhat different to what they once did. A great way to ease you back into some sense of normality again is to re-establish your old routine such as setting a regular bed time, getting up at the same time each day, set meal times, etc.

When things begin to return to “normal”, re-establishing familiar former routines can be helpful, but it might also be a good opportunity to reflect on whether you can continue some of the things you have been doing differently like making time for yourself, switching off from work in the evenings or making sure you have sit-down meals with the family.

2. Organise A Zoom Catch Up With Colleagues

To help reduce anxiety surrounding going back to work and having face to face meetings or social interaction with colleagues, organise a Zoom catch up to alleviate some of your fears. Once you reconnect with your colleagues, you will feel much more confident about your long-awaited physical interaction with them. It will also create a sense of togetherness and establish your sense of community.

3. Re-introduce Your Work Wardrobe

The clothes we wear affect our mood, confidence, attitudes and even the way we behave and interact with people. So now, more than ever, think of this as your psychological armour for re-entering the world.

I know what you’re thinking – you’ve been living in a uniform of comfy sweats and elasticated waist trousers for what feels like an eternity so none of them will fit after months of comfort eating your way through lockdown. So, be prepared and make time to go through your wardrobe, creating your ‘back to the world’ key looks. This will remove a huge amount of pressure and stress when the day finally comes.

4. Reduce Your Screen Time

As you prepare to go back into the outside world, take stock and monitor the amount of screen time you are using including social media and news sites. Thanks to the lockdown, many of us have increased our intake over the recent weeks, hoping for escapism or trawling through news sites for updates on the current situation.

Limit your screen time to once or twice daily and be aware of the people or information  sources that create a feeling of dread – at this time of high anxiety, it is best to avoid these, especially on days when you’re not feeling your best. If you’ve finally grown tired of Zoom chats, then it’s okay to take a break rather than being overwhelmed with everyone talking at the same time. Get back into the habit of speaking to people on the phone.

5. Plan To Do Things You Love

It will, of course, take time to get back into the swing of things once lockdown is over so a simple way to help relieve heightened levels of anxiety is to plan ahead. Make a list of simple pleasures you want to do again, friends you want to visit, places you want to travel to, or the restaurants you want to dine at. Consider organising these kinds of events post-lockdown, as well as finding virtual alternatives in the meantime.

Remember, things will take a while to adjust to the new “normal”. It is very unlikely that any of us will be instantly used to our new-found freedom post-lockdown, and some of us including older people or those with compromised immunity may have to wait a little longer before getting to experience this.

In Summary:

To ease yourself back into the world, phased approaches rather than large and sudden ones are generally easier to deal with, in terms of adjusting to change. It is also important to recognise that some people will not be ready to return to “normality”, even as the lockdown eases and things like school and workplaces reopen, so a much slower, more gradual reintegration may be required.