for better mental health

Managing feelings about lockdown easing

This page explains feelings you might have about changes to coronavirus lockdown. It also provides tips on managing these feelings and where to get more support.

To find out the current rules where you live, visit these pages:

What might I be feeling about changes to lockdown?

  • Stressed and unprepared for any changes. For example, if you’ve been shielding and are uncertain about how things have changed, such as in shops or on public transport.
  • Anxious, afraid or panicked. If lockdown has eased in your area, you may worry about an increase in coronavirus infections. Or you may worry that you or someone you care about may now be put at more risk than before. For example, this may be if you are returning to your workplace after shielding, or if your children have gone back to school or nursery. If a local lockdown is reintroduced where you live, this may make you feel anxious about coronavirus in your area.
  • Angry or frustrated. This may be because people aren’t following social distancing rules, and you’re not able to avoid them. Or because you think the changes are wrong, or the measures in place aren’t enough. Other people may seem to have more freedom than you, if you live somewhere with more restrictions. Or it may feel like the changes will make your work more difficult or higher risk.
  • Conflicted or confused. For example, you may want to socialise more if it’s allowed, but feel like perhaps you should still stay at home. You may feel especially conflicted if the people around you seem to feel differently about the changes to the rules. 
  • Protective of your lockdown routine, like you’d rather not have to deal with more change or uncertainty. Or you may have found that some aspects of lockdown have been positive for your wellbeing. This might make you feel conflicted about returning to how things were before.
  • Grief for people who have died, and that you want to avoid more loss.
  • Reluctant or unmotivated to rearrange events that couldn’t happen during full lockdown. This could be big birthday celebrations or weddings, or everyday things like barbecues, meet-ups, or dating.
  • Uneasy about relationships that have changed during full lockdown.
  • Lonely. You may find it difficult to see lots of media stories about friends and families socialising again if you don’t have many people to connect with.
  • Distrustful of the government’s reasons for changing the rules, or how things are portrayed in the media.
  • Powerless, like you don’t have a say in anything that’s happening.
  • Stigmatised or concerned that others will avoid you. Perhaps because you’ve already had coronavirus, or they think your work makes you more likely to spread the virus.
  • Like you’re having to make an unfair sacrifice. For example if you have been asked to go back to work when others are still able to stay at home.
  • Under pressure to return to work when you can’t, or when you feel it’s not safe to. Or pressure to continue working from home, even if you’ve found it a difficult experience. 
  • Unsupported or disregarded, perhaps if you're asked to go back to work without having access to things like childcare, personal protective equipment (PPE), or safe transport.

Remember:

  • There's no 'normal' response to changes to lockdown. Your feelings may be affected by lots of things that are out of your control.
  • Your feelings might change. You might feel one way one day, and another way the next. It might not feel logical.

As restrictions change in different ways around the UK, it might feel like others are following different rules to you. Your general mood may feel quite different to full lockdown, when most people were following the same rules.

What could help me manage these feelings?

  • Get practical support from organisations who can help. Our coronavirus useful contacts page lists lots of organisations who can help with different aspects of the coronavirus pandemic. This includes support for bereavement, work and parenting.
  • Talk to someone you trust. It might feel hard to start talking about how you are feeling. But many people find that sharing their experiences can help them feel better. It may be that just having someone listen to you and show they care can help in itself. If you aren't able to open up to someone close to you, you can call Samaritans any time on 116 123.
  • Try online peer support. Mind runs an online peer support community where you can share your experiences and hear from others. We welcome people from all backgrounds, whatever you're going through right now.
  • Express your feelings creatively. You might find that it helps to express how you are feeling about changes to lockdown. This could be by writing, drawing, painting or any other creative way that feels helpful to you.
  • Make choices to control the things that you can. Although the coronavirus outbreak means that your choices are limited, try to focus on the things you can change. It might be helpful to list the things you can change on one piece of paper and all the things you can’t on another.
  • Try self-care. There are lots of things you can try to take care of your own mental health and wellbeing. See our pages on coronavirus and your wellbeing and coping with mental health problems during coronavirus to find helpful tips for supporting yourself.
  • Seek help. If you are struggling with your mental health, it is ok to ask for help. A good place to start is by speaking to your GP, or your mental health team if you have one. The NHS and other services have adapted to the coronavirus outbreak. There are video and telephone appointments available, if you need to speak to someone. See our page on accessing treatment and support during coronavirus for more information.  

You can find lots more detailed support for managing difficult feelings and experiences on our website. In particular, you might find these pages helpful:

Andy

An ancient expression eased my lockdown anxiety

“I reminded myself that there are things I can control and things that are beyond my control … this too shall pass.”

This information was last updated on 2 September 2020.

We will review and update it regularly as the lockdown restrictions change.   

References are available on request. If you would like to reproduce any of this information, see our page on permissions and licensing.

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