Why some people are afraid of life going back to normal after lockdown
- Amy Morin is a psychotherapist, licensed clinical social worker, mental strength coach, and international bestselling author.
- Some people are excited as regions in the US being to reopen after lockdown, but many others are concerned about what a 'new normal' may look like.
- Morin says fears about the end of the shutdown may stem from concerns for physical safety and uncertainty about how society could change.
- To overcome these uncertainties, Morin recommends making a plan that prioritises your mental and physical health, having multiple streams of income, and adopting healthy coping skills.
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As some states begin to allow businesses to reopen, many people feel relieved to be able to start settling into a "new normal." But not everyone is experiencing the same sense of comfort. Others are fearful about life returning to business as usual.
There are several reasons why the end of lockdown might be anxiety-provoking for some individuals.
They're concerned about physical safety
For the past couple of months, the media has constantly warned us about rising death tolls, ventilator shortages, and community spread. And many healthcare officials continue to warn us that opening up too soon could be disastrous.
So there is much to be concerned about safety as shelter-in-place orders are lifted. How do we stop coronavirus from spreading? And how do we help vulnerable populations stay safe? At this point, there are more questions than answers.
They're anxious about what the "new normal" might be like
There's a lot of speculation about what the future might hold. Will we sit one seat apart on airplanes? Will we be wearing masks everywhere? Will all of our gatherings be limited to a small number of people? Will large events ever be held again?
There's a lot of uneasiness about how society will operate in the post-coronavirus era. Change is hard - especially when you have little control over it.
They've enjoyed doing less
Some people have really enjoyed slowing down a bit. Being forced to stay home has reminded them that they don't need to sprint from activity to activity all the time. They learned how to find some joy and inner peace by doing less.
Now, as businesses open and activities resume, going from doing "too little" to "too much" might feel overwhelming.
How to stay mentally strong in the face of uncertainty
If you're nervous about life going back to normal, you're not alone. You can address your concerns with a combination approach: Attack the problems you can solve, and work on managing your emotions. Here's how to stay mentally strong in the face of uncertainty:
- Establish your priorities. It's a great time to take stock of how you're spending your time, money, and energy. You don't have to act social, look busy, and feel exhausted all the time if you don't want to. Cut out things that you don't want to do anymore. Add more activities that are in line with your priorities moving forward.
- Create a plan to manage your health. Whether you want to eat a healthier diet to keep your immune system in top shape, or you want to exercise more after spending six weeks indoors, taking charge of your health can help you feel more in control of your future.
- Look for alternative streams of income. The pandemic has certainly shown us that many jobs that seemed stable might not be as secure as we had hoped. Creating several streams of income could help you feel more confident about your financial situation moving forward. Whether you launch a little side hustle, or you diversify your retirement a bit, assess the strategies you can use to increase your financial security.
- Turn to healthy coping skills. There are a lot of problems you can't solve right now. But you can address how you feel about these problems. Look for healthy coping strategies to manage your emotions. Practice yoga, meditate, socialise with friends (when it is safe to do so in your area), or do whatever activity helps you feel your best. Healthy coping skills are key to regulating your emotions during times of uncertainty.
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