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POST-PANDEMIC ANXIETY: GETTING BACK INTO THE REAL WORLD

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

With current pandemic restrictions being eased slowly via the roadmap the Government has set out, it’s become apparent that in response to returning to a ‘normal’ life, a lot of us have begun feeling anxious.

We have spent months being told to stay home – only leave the home to shop for essentials and do one daily form of exercise. Our social interaction has been in the form of video calls, which has felt worse living alone. Wearing a mask has become second nature, remembering to grab one before you leave the home just like picking up the keys. It isn’t a way of life you ever thought you would be living.

Mental health has suffered throughout the pandemic, with MIND finding in their survey from the first few months of 2020 that 65% of adults said their mental health had gotten worse, and 51% of adults with no mental health experience suffering with mental health problems during lockdown.

Dr Antonis Kousoulis, Director at the Mental Health Foundation said: “While the initial priority must be to prevent loss of life, we fear that we may be living with the mental health impacts of the Coronavirus situation for many years to come. This is especially true of vulnerable groups and it is critical that governments and others are mindful of this in developing policy as we go forward.”

Some of us have found the lockdown a mixture of emotions, such as Emma, 28, from London who said: “The pandemic has really thrown my life out of balance. I lost my job due to not being able to work and I have had to start from scratch with jobs, at first, being difficult to find. I also live alone so at first my mental health dipped incredibly low.

“I’m now in a better place, so I’m nervous about things going back to normal because I have settled into a new routine of not getting FOMO or having to say no to friends and feeling guilty because they want me to go clubbing. Generally I miss real social interaction, but at the same time I don’t miss social pressures.”

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

Some people have been able to delve into hobbies due to spare time, but also some have created side jobs out of their passion and used sites such as Etsy and Depop to sell their art or old clothes. “I decided to start drawing more and invested in better equipment,” Charlotte, 31, from London said. “I’m not selling my work, and instead have been doing it as a way to help with my mental health.”

Even with people falling comfortably into new routines of working from home and spending time not worrying about the guilt associated with not wanting to be in certain social situations, there is also the anxiety related to the coronavirus itself. There are rumours of masks becoming compulsory and the need of extra documents to fly, but with a jab being rolled out, shouldn’t we be feeling more calmer due to its efficiency? Not necessarily.

“Having spent a full year avoiding people and seeing friends and family fall ill, and luckily that is all, I don’t feel confident to be in situations such as train commutes and concerts,” Lucy, 23, from Manchester told us. “I’m worried about going back to the office to work, and feel I have actually been more productive working from home anyway.”

She’s not alone. According to Finder (March 2021), 26% of Brits are planning to work from home, or occasionally from home after the lockdown. Altogether, around 60% of the UK’s population have been working from home during the pandemic.

Even though we are seeing that there is light at the end of the very dark and long tunnel, and that ‘normal’ life will resume one day (hopefully without masks and with lots of hugs), there are a number of things to take away from the pandemic:

  • Life is short and things may happen unexpectedly to you or the ones you love. Spend more time with family and friends – just don’t forget to tell them how much you love ’em!
  • You don’t have to feel FOMO. Socialising is fun, but not when you’re only doing it because you want to get some new Insta snaps to show you’re #LivingMyBestLife.
  • Take time doing things you love, such as new hobbies or indulging in self care. Many have enjoyed taking time out once in a while for a skin boosting face mask and a bath.
  • Don’t take your job for granted (that’s if you do). We can lose it at the drop of a hat.

What else do you think we should take away from experiencing the pandemic?

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