This year has been nothing less than a rollercoaster, and as we ease back into our normal routines after months of being isolated within our homes, it is no surprise that many may be finding this transition challenging.
This one of a kind experience had pulled us all away from our routines, schedules, and societal norms that we had all become so accustomed to, within days. It has most definitely been rattling, therefore we must ease our ways back into “normality”, or what many are now calling “the new normal”.
The first step that we can take before we learn to cope with our post-lockdown busy brains, is identifying what emotions we may be experiencing and why:
1. The feeling of confusion
The ever-changing rules can cause many of us to feel a wave of uncertainty from the
moment that we step outside. We can feel conflicted whilst interacting with the people that we encounter, taking on public transport, or even ordering at a cafe.
Know that is normal, and you are not alone in this.
2. The feeling of anxiety or panic
It is absolutely normal to feel slightly anxious whenever you are outside post-COVID,
whether rooted from fear of catching the virus, or simply because you do not want to frustrate the people around you.
Emotions and tensions are high as of current, so take a breathe, and keep calm.
3. The feeling of alienation
As more and more people progress back into their normal routines, it can be quite
overwhelming for those who are still isolating or are required to stay cautious to see an increase in people leaving their homes and re-connecting with others.
If so, take a break from social media and instead prioritise practicing mindful activities such as art, dancing, exercising, cooking, or simply FaceTiming a friend.
Now that we have identified the emotions that you may be feeling, here are a few coping mechanisms that you can use in order to support your mental health during this confusing time:
1. Express your emotions through journalling
Haven’t you heard? Journalling is in.
Journalling goes beyond writing about your bad day at school, complaining about not getting the last slice of cake, or him not texting back (cut him off). This practice has been proven to be one of the most effective tools in expressing your emotions.
If you have been feeling overwhelmed with the chaos that is Coronavirus, get out a notebook—this can be any notebook!—and just write. No structure, page limit, or time count is required. Let it all go with your pen and paper, and feel the powerful release.
2. Be open
If you are slowly reconnecting with the ‘outside world’ after months of having to stay
inside, know that it is completely okay to be open with your emotions with the people whom you are meeting—whether they be colleagues, friends, family, or even strangers in your exercise class.
Everyone is currently undergoing very similar thoughts and emotions, therefore being open may not only be beneficial to you, but also to the people that you express your emotions to.
3. Take it slow
Be gentle on yourself. You have got this.
This has been a hectic year, so if you have yet to achieve all of your goals as of far, that is okay! You are doing all that you can. Breathe, and keep on going.
4. Find new hobbies
Fight fire with fire, and get back at the many changes that COVID has hit you with by
making changes that are under your control.
Finding new hobbies can be an empowering way in taking back control of your own life, thoughts, and mental health.
It is time to stop taking the little things for granted, especially as we have had so much taken away from us earlier on within the year so quickly; if there is a class that you have been wanting to join, a fitness programme you want to start, or a new language that you want to learn, why not start today?
5. Focus on what you are grateful for
This simple but beautiful practice is an amazing way to bring you back into the present
moment, and away from anxious thoughts.
Practicing gratitude has been linked to improving mood, lowering levels of stress, and easing feelings of depression.
Whether it be on your notebook or phone, create list of all that you are grateful for—the length of this list is completely in your hands. The more the better.
As the world transitions from being in the height of an unexpected pandemic, to returning to “normal”, which in reality, is far from it, know that it is okay if this transition may not be the smoothest for you.
The return into “normality” will most definitely be a bumpy one for all of us, so hang on in there, and follow these tips to help you get through it.