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Managing feelings about lockdown easing

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

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

What might I be feeling about lockdown easing?

You may worry about there being an increase in coronavirus infections, or about getting the coronavirus vaccine. The world may now seem unsafe, whether or not you felt like this before the pandemic.

You may struggle to see how things will improve, or return to how they used to be.

You might feel even more tired and hopeless if you previously had coronavirus symptoms and are still experiencing their effects. If these symptoms last for a long time, it is sometimes known as 'long Covid'.

Change and uncertainty can also be very tiring so you may be feeling exhausted from the stress of managing all the uncertainty.

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.

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.

Feeling conflicted or confused is natural when there is a lot of change. 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.

You may feel stressed or nervous about more change and uncertainty, or protective of your lockdown routine, if you 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.

You may be grieving for people who have died, or from other types of loss, such as the loss of a job, opportunities or a sense of community.

You may be struggling to feel motivated.

For example, you may feel reluctant 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.

You may be struggling with feelings of loneliness. If you don’t have many people to connect with, you may also be finding it difficult to see lots of media stories about people socialising again.

You may feel uneasy about relationships that have changed during lockdown.

You might feel distrustful of the government’s reasons for changing the rules, or how things are portrayed in the media.

You may feel like you don’t have a say in anything that’s happening.

You may feel a sense of unfairness about how the pandemic or the lockdown restrictions have affected different people.

For example, if you’ve been asked to go back to work when others are still able to stay at home and you feel this isn’t fair.

You may be 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.

You may feel unsupported. For example, if you're asked to go back to work without having access to things like childcare, personal protective equipment (PPE), or safe transport.

Annabel

How to ease your way out of lockdown with social anxiety

"Don’t force yourself to start again immediately – it’s OK to need to take time to readjust."

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.

"I was reminded of the term 'this too shall pass'. It had a calming effect."

What could help me manage these feelings?

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.

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.

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.

Everyone has their own response to lockdown changes, and it’s important to take things at your own pace.

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.

Although the coronavirus outbreak means that your choices are limited, try to focus on the things you can change, rather than the things that are outside your control. For example, limiting the amount of news you read when you are struggling may help.

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.

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 information was last updated on 26 March 2021.

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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