Spring is in the air and with it comes the government’s plan for gradual easing of lockdown restrictions. For many this will be a case of welcoming in new opportunities and will be helpful for their mood and well-being but many others may experience anxiety about the loosening of restrictions. It is normal to feel anxious about re-engaging with social and work activities and how to do this safely and within the rules. And if you remain more vulnerable, perhaps due to age or health conditions, you may feel at risk of increased isolation as other groups begin to have more freedoms. There is, however, much that you can do to naturally support your well-being and be able to move out of lockdown in a confident way, whatever your personal situation.
Everyone will be working through their own concerns and anxieties and it can be helpful to have a plan for how you will start to move forward as restrictions ease. Being clearly aware of the rules may give you confidence and it can help you to set an action plan for what you will be comfortable to do when. Starting small and taking baby steps towards re-engaging with social activities will give you confidence. Record your successes and don’t be afraid to gently push yourself at times – many of us have become very comfortable in our own space and with our own company and gently pushing the boundaries of that comfort zone can in fact be liberating. For situations where you have some concerns making a plan and using positive visualisation can be really helpful.
Many people may have had very limited social contact for many months, it is only to be expected that there could be some awkward moments as we all emerge and learn to re-engage with the world – being prepared for these and seeing them with humour and as a learning experience can really help. Again positive visualisations for how you want these interactions to go can help to alleviate any fears and set you up for a positive experience.
As humans we have a tendency to get caught up in our imaginations and let fears or anxieties run away with us, this can have consequences both for physical and mental health. Learning to recognise when we are getting caught in this trap and bringing our focus back into the present in a kind and non-judgemental way can help to break this cycle. The technique of mindfulness and mindful meditation, when practiced regularly, can help to relieve anxieties and focus on our present experience. There are many meditation apps (e.g. Headspace, Calm) which are a good place to start, or for those who prefer a more traditional approach an online class or book (e.g. Mindfulness: Finding Peace in a Frantic World) may help.
Through the restrictions of lockdown you may have made some changes which you want to keep in your life e.g. developed a new hobby, reduced the rush and pace of life a little, focused more on family etc. It is important to take forward those positive learnings and experiences. In coming out of lockdown you can decide what to bring with you and what to leave behind. Taking time to focus on what is important to you now, and how you want to organise your life and commitments, is time very well spent. Saying “yes” to those things you really want to spend time doing may mean saying “no” (or if it’s more comfortable “not right now”) to previous commitments which you do not want to re-start. Having a plan for how to manage this situation and what you do and don’t want to get back to doing will help you to prioritise what is most important for you and those you are closest to.
Social connections and a sense of meaning and purpose are essential not only for our mental health but for our physical health as well. With lockdown easing it gives us the opportunity to prioritise those relationships and activities which are helpful for us, thus supporting our overall health and well-being.
Looking after your body and mind naturally by eating a good diet, regularly engaging in physical activity, making time and space for relaxing activities and prioritising sleep helps to ensure the health of your immune system and will also support your mental well-being. Unfortunately the restrictions of lockdown and the stress that many people have been under means some of these healthy lifestyle habits may have fallen by the wayside! Hypnotherapy can help support motivation for weight loss and exercise, teach you skills for relaxation or give you techniques to help improve sleep. Through hypnotherapy we can also work directly on reducing any specific worries you have about the easing of restrictions and make a manageable plan for how to emerge from this latest lockdown feeling more confident.
If you feel you need more specific dietary or nutritional support then Nutritional Therapy may be helpful for you and our Integrated Medicine Physicians can provide holistic support for your physical and mental health. If lockdown restrictions have affected your relationships or the pandemic has raised issues around your connections to people in your life then Constellations Counselling may help to open up and resolve these issues. Or if you have other concerns which have been highlighted by the prospect of lockdown easing please contact our knowledgeable reception team who will be happy to advise you on what approach may be most helpful for you.
Listen to Ruth's Podcast "Hypnotherapy Explained" by clicking here.