Nov 11th 2020
A lot has changed in Victoria over the past couple of weeks, and just like you we’re still processing how to feel about being out of lockdown. From excitement to anxiety, there are a lot of emotions being felt at the moment!
One of the recurrent things we are hearing from people in our community is that there is a certain unease about this new normal. Lockdown put up a wall (literally) between ourselves and the outside world. For some of us, lockdown was rather safe and comforting. For others, the isolation was fraught and challenging. No matter how lockdown impacted you, there’s no escaping the fact that there comes a time for all of us to emerge from our pajamas and engage in some outside world activity again.
Activities such as eating out, exercising or even just seeing family and friends for the first time in months, can feel daunting. Here’s some tips from the EDV team to help you get through this transition while still caring for your mental health.
Acknowledge that it’s ok to be feeling weird about this transition. Seems obvious, but it’s really important to validate your feelings of unease. You have just been through something incredibly challenging and unusual. We also know that COVID hasn’t magically gone away, so there’s still natural anxiety about infection. There’s nothing wrong with you if you’re not rushing out everyday for a picnic with friends. Give yourself permission to feel the way you do, and be assured that there are many other people feeling the same!
TIP from Amy: “Just because you can do it, doesn’t mean you HAVE to.”
Take it slow with those you’re comfortable with. Consider starting off byjust seeing people in your inner circle, those who you know you are comfortable with. Keep your social calendar light, maybe just one activity a week! You might want to choose an activity that has a certain end point, like a mid-morning coffee date or a walk around a park. Going to a place that has a parking time limit also helps.
TIP from Bree: “Remember that your social endurance has probably lapsed over the past few months, so even a short amount of social activity can feel exhausting! Like any other latent muscle, it may take time to build up again.”
Increase variety where you can. If you’ve been in a very safe lockdown routine for a while, everyday things outside your norm can feel strange. Have a think about your routine and look for areas where you change things up. Maybe it’s going to a walk at a different time of day, or going to a different supermarket. These small changes to your routine can help ease you into new surroundings again while still maintaining their purpose.
TIP from Shannyn: “Phasing back into outdoor activities first before indoor is a great way to get used to seeing more people.”
‘Increase exposure’ to help tackle summer-related anxieties. Not only are we dealing with coming out of lockdown, but we’re also heading into summer. Cue summer activity anxiety! If the thought of wearing a pair of shorts or going to the beach brings your dread, consider applying cognitive behaviour therapy techniques to slowly increase exposure to things that bring you anxiety. This article has some great tips. You can also revisit neutral body affirmations, such as “This is how I look today” rather than putting a negative word on your appearance.
TIP from Elli: “Confidence comes from doing the same thing repeatedly.”
Finally, focus in on what you are excited about! Look for things in this post-lockdown era that brings you joy, no matter how small.
“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.”
― John Lubbock, The Use Of Life