Governments have had to put restrictions into place to protect public safety. Wherever you live, restrictions have no doubt altered your life in some way. Whether you are prevented from seeing your friends, unable to visit your grandparents, or are prevented from your normal work routine, there’s no doubt Coronavirus has had an impact on all of our lives. Businesses across all industries have had to alter the way they operate. This includes warehouse-based companies, such as water chillers manufacturers having to limit the number of employees at work at any given time, and retail stores moving fully online. There have also been regular updates to procedures and business operations in a range of healthcare settings, such as increased infection control procedures in hospitals.
In Victoria, Stage 4 restrictions were in place for weeks. Under Stage 4, there was a stay at home order placed on the whole state, meaning nobody could leave home unless absolutely necessary. For many people, this was tough. However, restrictions have now been eased to a point where people are allowed to leave the house, for whatever reason and for however long they like. While this news may bring relief and joy to some, others are left with a sense of dread. Wondering if things have changed out in the world is perfectly normal, as we are all navigating this new time in our lives. Taking steps towards a COVID-normal lifestyle has definitely raised some questions, and for some, it has even brought on newfound anxiety.
Will I be allowed to see my family whenever I like? Can I take a holiday interstate? Can my wedding go ahead next year? Can my family come and meet my new baby? Will there be another lockdown?
These questions are doing the rounds in everyone’s heads. People are searching for answers, for certainty and reassurance. However, frustration is building within our society because nobody has the answers just yet. So, until we have the answers to our burning questions, and until we know what our lives might look like moving out of the pandemic, what can we do to de-stress? How can we cope with this new form of anxiety? Here are our top tips for coping with post-COVID anxiety as we make our way out of this pandemic.
Get Out and About
Getting out and about might seem daunting these days, and you may not know what to expect. Face masks are still mandatory, and they, alone, can be uncomfortable. Add in the constant hand sanitising and looking sideways at anyone who so much as coughs near you, and you’ve got a big bad world of scary situations out there. However, getting out of the house doesn’t need to be so scary.
Leaving the security of your home could be one of the best things for your mental health. Take a deep breath and step outside into the sunshine. If heading to a busy area like the shops is too much for you, go somewhere quieter. A short stroll down the street, a walk on a quiet beach or a hike through a forest might be just the thing you need to feel grounded again. You can slowly build up to more populated outings, such as grocery shopping or getting started on your Christmas gift list.
Catch Up With Friends and Family
“We’re all in this together”. Never have these words rung as true as they do in 2020. We are all navigating our way through this new time in our lives, and we are all experiencing a wide range of emotions. Catching up with friends and family to chat about how you’re feeling can be a weight off of your shoulders. Research shows that recognising your emotions and talking them through with someone you trust can help to relax your body and mind, and make you feel much calmer. If talking face-to-face seems too hard for you, try picking up the phone or penning a letter to someone you love.
Visiting grandparents can be a rewarding thing to do as well. Elderly people have been cut off from their loved ones due to the fear of them contracting Coronavirus. Aged care facilities were closed to visitors, and many living at home even had to organise health equipment rentals in order to self-isolate. But with the easing of restrictions, the elderly can now safely be reunited with their families and attend medical appointments.
People inherently need other people. You might be surprised by how many people are willing to listen when you need to talk, especially because they will most likely need to talk too. It’s very important that you not only make time to voice your own concerns, but also make time to hear those of others. We are all in this together, and we need to support one another through these new, uncertain times.
Meditation can be a powerful tool to relax your body and mind. Taking some time out to focus on your breathing can help to put you in a more positive mood, ready to tackle whatever life may throw your way. Studies have shown that daily meditation can help to lower your blood pressure, boost your mood and help you to live a healthier life. Take some time out each day to do something that relaxes you. Whether it be painting, reading a book or yoga; these are all great ways to calm the body and mind during stressful times.
See Your Doctor
If the idea of returning to normal life seems like too much for you to cope with, or if you’re experiencing severe anxiety that is stopping you from doing the things you would normally enjoy, it may be time to seek professional medical help. Doctor’s appointments are confidential, and they may be able to refer you to a specialist who will help you work through your difficulties. They might even be able to prescribe you some anti-anxiety medication to help you return to normal sooner.
There’s no doubt that COVID-19 has placed incredible stress on all of our lives. From teachers to gardeners, construction workers to industrial air compressor parts suppliers, COVID-19 has changed the way live, shop, work and interact with others. Life post-COVID is still new, and many of us are feeling unsure about what to expect in the coming months. Anxiety is quite common at the moment, so you shouldn’t feel alone. Just try to breathe, relax, and take as much time as you need to get back into the swing of normal life.