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Mental health after lockdown is a vital factor we should be monitoring closely. Though we typically expect the Covid-19 pandemic to impact our physical health significantly, our mental health also suffers considerably for various reasons and in various ways.
It is expected that the impact that the Covid-19 pandemic has had on our mental health during lockdown will be felt long after lockdown lifts, with 85% of those surveyed by metro.co.uk mentioning that their mental health had been negatively impacted by the pandemic.
Being prepared is key, as is knowing the challenges we potentially face after lockdown. The following outlines three potential challenges to mental health and provides advice on what you can do to take care of your mental health after lockdown.
3 Challenges to be Prepared For Post-lockdown
As we transition to a post-lockdown environment, some of the key challenges people face include anxiety and uncertainty, the exacerbation of existing mental health challenges and the potential stress associated with adjusting to social norms.
Post-lockdown anxiety and uncertainty
Anxiety and uncertainty are two commonly reported feelings that we experience post lockdown. It has taken us weeks to acclimatise ourselves to new rules and regulations that have significantly changed the fundamental way we live our lives. And after the lockdown ends, we suddenly find ourselves instantly having to readjust once again to a ‘new-normal’ way of life.
Such changes bring anxiety and uncertainty, and these emotions are natural. We are unsure what this ‘new normal’ will look like, and our responses reflect the uncertainties that we will potentially encounter in our new lives. How can you handle anxiety and stress post lockdown?
Exacerbation of existing mental health challenges
One thing to remember is that for people who experienced or endured already existing mental health challenges before lockdown, coming out of it can potentially trigger or worsen those symptoms. The 2003 SARS pandemic, for instance, saw a significant rise in various psychiatric problems.
And the Covid-19 pandemic is no different, with the 14 days of quarantine potentially exacerbating patients’ and employees’ anxiety. Those of us suffering from existing mental health challenges may find ourselves with worsened symptoms that call for us to take extra care of our mental health and to look after ourselves as much as we can.
How adjusting to new social norms can cause stress
Having to adhere to new social norms post lockdown can take its toll on us, particularly because we have had to remain isolated in our homes for weeks. The transition can cause us to feel stressed as we adjust to wearing masks and following social distancing rules. The anxiety that we feel can often be caused by stress, which is another factor to watch out for. Common signs of stress include headaches and migraines.
How to Handle Mental health Challenges Post lockdown
As well as engaging in creative activities, exercising regularly, where possible, you should try to keep an eye on your diet, and maintain social connections (that adhere to the new social norms). These approaches can seem difficult to achieve post lockdown. It can be a big challenge trying to fit daily exercise into your schedule when you are experiencing mental health challenges post lockdown, as can maintaining a healthy diet. But you might start by trying to incorporate them into a routine, step by step.
When it comes to handling mental health challenges post lockdown, remember that we all respond in different ways. We all have different ways of coping with the unique challenges we face, and no one has the right or wrong answers.
Handling Exacerbated Mental Health Symptoms, Anxiety and Stress
Here we have outlined two key tips to help you handle exacerbated mental health symptoms such as anxiety and stress post-lockdown.
Share your anxiety and stress with those close to you
You are not alone when it comes to handling post-lockdown anxiety and stress. Sharing your feelings can help to lift the weight from your shoulders. Talk to family, friends and health professionals if you’re struggling – as the age-old saying goes, a problem shared is a problem halved.
Furthermore, it’s highly likely that the person you share your anxiety with is going through the same emotions as you, or can at least relate to how you are feeling. In situations where you feel uncomfortable opening up to those close to you, there are various support services specifically for mental health that you can contact. This is also highly recommended for exacerbated mental health symptoms that you might be experiencing post lockdown.
Plan for situations that contribute to existing mental health, anxiety and stress
Can some of the uncertainties you face be handled with a little planning? Say you are anxious about doing your weekly shopping in a post-lockdown environment, due to the social distancing regulations. Putting together a plan and scheduling the time you decide to go to the supermarket might alleviate some of your fears and help you avoid encountering too many people. Planning for certain situations or tasks this way will help you factor in the challenging aspects of your daily activities with less stress and anxiety.
Monitor Your Mental Health and Wellbeing Post Lockdown: Key Points
Monitoring your mental health post lockdown can be a challenge. We might be adjusting to a new normal, but the key things you can do to keep tabs on your mental health are:
- Talk to others about how you are feeling
- Plan for particular situations that exacerbate your mental health challenges
- Establish routines to support your daily tasks that may cause you anxiety or stress
One final reminder is that regular exercise is recommended to keep your body and mind healthy. Your physical health is linked to your mental health. If you have found yourself struggling with your physical wellbeing, there are multiple blogs, resources and websites that provide physical health tips, treatment and all things physiotherapy. You can start by checking out some of the following resources on our blog: