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Feeling Anxious as Lockdown Eases? Dr Tim Bond Outlines Steps to Take

publication date: Jul 2, 2020
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author/source: Dr Tim Bond

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While the world is starting to return to new normality the sense is that we can’t wait to get back to doing what we use to do. But for a great many, this return may actually be causing anxiety. There are a number of reasons for this. From a health perspective there is the real prospect of being out in a society where there is still a virus around, and the worries that go with catching it. This is understandable and relatable.

What is perhaps a little harder for others to grasp is when the root of anxiety is linked to social conditions. You may have become accustomed to new routines and new ways of doing things and don’t feel the same glee at returning to a busy society or your usual free time preferences. Or isolation has affected your motivation, which needs to be built back up again.

There’s also the integration aspect. We have become accustomed to being in our household bubbles and willingness to be flung back into wider groups of people may take some adjustment. It may sound counterintuitive but there’s also a feeling of greater isolation, when others are busy planning activities and reunions or spending time with those closest to them, which can leave others feeling on the side-lines.

Social anxiety already affects many people, and we need to know that it is ok not to feel overwhelming joy at being back in the “real” world and don’t have to feel forced to go with it just to fit in.

Here are my top six tips to ease back into the new world:

1. Acknowledge feelings. The more you fight against them, the bigger concern and worry they become. Tell yourself that it is ok to have these feelings, and that is what they are - feelings to be worked on, not ignored.

2. Build-up slowly. Nobody is expecting you to throw caution to the wind and live life as before. Do what feels right for you initially, and build upon it as you feel comfortable. Maybe meet just one friend and then two friends, or try meeting at your local park, then try a walk, or a drink at an outdoor café. Go at your own pace and what feels right. The rest will fall into place.

3. Take time to recharge. Being social can zap your energy at the best of times and especially now when there are so many other things to take into consideration. Remember to take some time out and recharge.

4. Saying no is ok. Just because we have had a few months to ourselves, doesn’t mean you have to say yes to every social offer or event taking place. Even if you had the thought in lockdown that you are never going to say no to a social occasion again doesn’t mean you have to stick with it. Think of it that by saying “no” to a social engagement means you are actually saying “yes” to yourself

5. Self-care. Adopt self-care practices that help create good sleep patterns, vital for our health and wellness as well as tackling stress and anxiety. A bath, a good book or talking to a friend can all help. But, a natural remedy that is helping many and ticks all the boxes for stress, anxiety and sleep troubles, is Dragonfly CBD oil. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has recognised that CBD may have the potential to help with sleep troubles. CBD, such as Dragonfly CBD, has been shown to have a calming effect in the central nervous system improving anxiety and sleep.

6. Zen It. Optimal health depends very much on a whole-body approach, providing the right diet, exercise, sleep patterns and opportunities to relax and de-stress in these trying times. Combining meditation, zen and classical relaxation to help achieve optimal balance and harmony works for many and is known as Sophrology. Key to this is relaxation, breathing, gentle movement and visualisation. Take time out every day where you can sit, relax and think; taking a tea break helps with this.

Breathing exercises can really help to get that Zen moment too. Here’s an exercise that may help: Calm your overactive mind with mindful breathing. Standing, close your eyes, focus on your head and face. How does it feel? Tense? Relaxed? Exhale through your mouth to empty your lungs and inhale through your nose. Hold your breath and slowly rotate your head from left to right a few times. When you need air bring your head back to the centre and exhale. Repeat, being fully aware of the sensations in your head and face as you move and breathe. This exercise helps to calm an overactive mind, clear tension and oxygenate the brain.

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