With the roadmap out of lockdown in action, it’s normal to experience post-pandemic anxiety. The last year has seen us avoid the outside world, social contact and public spaces so it makes sense those things now feel daunting. This feeling is likely amplified for those who have been shielding throughout the covid-19 pandemic.

Packed pubs, real life social gatherings and a busy office now flag a potential threat to us. We’ve spent the last year fearing for our health and for those around us. Many are also experiencing social anxiety when it comes to conversing, socialising and leaving behind a life of comfy clothes and unlimited pet cuddles.

With this is mind, we’ve put together a list of things to consider that might help manage your post-pandemic anxiety.

Don’t accept every post-pandemic invite

Just because the world is beginning to open up, and some of your friends and family are excited, it doesn’t mean you have to be a yes-person. Consider responding to invites with “let me give it a think” and consider whether it’s something you want before you respond. You don’t have to agree to every meal, pub-outing, BBQ or weekend away. Pick what suits you and enforce that boundary. Your bank balance will thank you for it!

You get to edit your life

What do you miss from your life pre-pandemic? Perhaps you’ve longed for your weekly pilates classes or visiting your parents for Sunday lunch or live music gigs. Prioritise reintroducing things that spark joy and will make re-entering the world more exciting.

On the flip side, what don’t you miss from your life pre-pandemic? The two-hour train commute, wearing restrictive clothing or busy weekends? You don’t have to pick these things up where you left them last March. You could start to look for a job closer to home or working remotely, ditch the skinny jeans in favour of something comfortable and make time to relax on your days off. 

You’re not alone in post-pandemic anxiety

Poor mental health often makes us feel alone and yet Mind found that 1 in 4 people in England experience mental health issues every year. The charity also concluded ‘more than half of adults (60%) and over two thirds of young people (68%) have said their mental health got worse during lockdown’. So while you may be feeling like the only one who is anxious about post-pandemic life, it’s likely that those around you may also be struggling. Many psychologists and experts believe a global trauma has been experienced throughout the pandemic, with the last one being the second world war.

Consider reaching out to friends, family and colleagues to see whether they are experiencing similar concerns about life post-pandemic. You can also connect with others in online communities.

Prioritise your mental health

If your anxiety is impacting your wellbeing, look at prioritising your mental health by:

and remember…

You’re not the same person you were pre-pandemic. Over the past year you’ve experienced a lot and changed as a result. You don’t have to slot back into your old life and pretend the pandemic didn’t happen. The transition into lockdown was tough and on-going so it makes sense to experience anxiety at life post-pandemic. Emerging out of lockdown and restrictions is a process and one you don’t have to jump head-first into.