Your mental health post-lockdown – the new unknown
As we start to ease out of lockdown, adjusting to the new unknown may be associated with a mixture of emotions and reactions. Some people may feel extremely relieved that things are slowly getting back to ‘normal’, others may feel very anxious.
Dr Konstantine Loumidis, our Consultant Clinical Psychologist offers some advice on how to help you navigate through the unknown…
What is on your mind?
For a lot of us, there may be a sense of worry or indeed anxiety about the new unknown. How will I cope? Will my boss or colleagues think bad of me if I cannot re-adjust? Will my friends still like me? I do not like this uncertainty. I feel out of control. How will I deal with my losses, be it financial, emotional, or indeed loved ones? Am I still good enough, was I ever able enough, and am I even bothered to fight again? Maybe I should do something big, like leave my job. Now I worry about illness, death, or contamination. I need more help than I dare to admit. This is not me.
These thoughts are common and understandable. However, they may feel all-encompassing, troublesome, and unmanageable. Emotionally, we may feel normal sadness, concern, annoyance or indeed disappointment for what has happened and what might happen. But some may be pained by disabling depression, anxiety, anger, guilt, or shame and struggle to function at work, socially, or with their relationships. Others may try to cope by avoidance, withdrawal, denial, fruitless rumination, or projecting their troubles onto others.
An opportunity for growth?
Post-lockdown, there may be a sense of renewed freedom, a liberation, a party atmosphere. Some may use this to reflect on what always needed changing, but complacency, routine or procrastination have prevented taking action. Even after significant trauma, some may experience existential growth, and see adversity as an opportunity to reset and restart, with a renewed energy to focus on what is important, meaningful and congruent with one’s self.
Dos and don’ts
You are not alone. Pause. Do not make any rushed or dramatic decisions, driven by negative thoughts or feelings. Reflect. Think how you successfully coped in the past. What was your mindset then? Think. Are there any bad habits that you recently developed, giving you short term relief, but long-term dysfunction? And act. Do not neglect your body; eat well, exercise, sleep set hours, and avoid drinking to be happy. And do not be afraid to talk or to seek help. Talk to your GP, voluntary organisations, friends, family, or talk to an expert.
Make your mental health a new goal. We are here to help.
Dr Konstantine Loumidis is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist at The Westbourne Centre. For more information, please call 01902 843877.