Anxiety and Life in the ‘New Normal’

As lockdown is very gradually lifted, life is very slowly returning ‘normal’. It will be some time however before our normal lives are really as they were a few months ago. We are told to expect a ‘new normal’ as many of the restrictions and measures put in place to protect us continue to apply. It is natural to feel some sense of apprehension and anxiety about this ‘new normal’ and what the future may hold, but some will feel this more acutely than others.

If you are someone who has already struggled with anxiety, your feelings may have been compounded by the onset of the pandemic and the restrictions of lockdown. You may have found that even if you have not suffered from anxiety before, you are now feeling wary of venturing outdoors and resuming some of the activities we all used to take for granted. Either way, those feelings of worry and anxiety can be hard to shift.

After months of being told to be wary of others, keep our distance, don’t touch, wear a mask – things which we are still being urged to do – it is no wonder that some of us will be feeling anxious about venturing further than our own front doors. Some of us will prefer instead to continue to take refuge in our homes where things are under our own control – perhaps feeling unable to cope with the anxiety they feel when going out. In these circumstances, feelings of isolation and depression can develop easily and quickly, and may even develop further into a more persistent mental health condition such as panic attacks and agoraphobia (fear of going out).

The restrictions and precautions of the ‘new normal’ may exacerbate fears and feelings of anxiety – and some find they are simply not able to go out.

If you are feeling more anxious than you normally do about leaving your home, or if you suffer from anxiety generally, here’s what you can do to keep those feelings in check.

  • Talk to and take a friend
    Sharing your concerns with a trusted friend or family member can really help to put anxieties into perspective. If you are anxious about venturing out, ask a member of your household to go with you, or arrange to meet a friend (observing social distancing rules of course). Having the support and company of someone you trust can be very re-assuring.
  • Take it slow and steady
    If you are feeling overwhelmed by the thought of once again facing the wider world, do it in manageable steps – perhaps starting first with a visit to a shop close to home, or getting together in a friend’s garden (following the rules of course) – and then as your confidence builds, venturing a little further afield.
  • Relaxation techniques
    Some find relaxation techniques such as meditation, mindfulness and breathing techniques useful in calming down and gaining perspective. Breathing techniques can bring the heart rate down, making you feel calmer and more in control. Mindfulness – or focusing on the here and now – can be very helpful in calming feelings of anxiety. Take time to observe and focus on the things around you – whether it’s the birdsong or the passing traffic. By focussing on one thing at a time, your mind becomes occupied with that activity and not on the things which may be making you anxious.
  • Think positively
    The restrictions in place at present are there to protect us all. On the whole, our human nature is to look after each other – something which has become very evident over the last few months. The people you come across outside the safety of your home will also be keen to stay safe.  If you adhere to the rules, then the likelihood that you will be protected is high. And remember, this is a temporary situation – the restrictions are a means to an eventual end of the pandemic.
  • Professional help
    If you are finding things really difficult, it may be time to seek help from a mental health professional, such as a therapist, psychologist or psychiatrist who will be able to talk through your fears with you and find methods of dealing with your anxiety.

At Private Psychiatry we have helped many people overcome their fears and to develop ways of managing their anxiety so that it is no longer an obstacle to joining in with the rest of the world and enjoying life. During lockdown, we are offering remote online video appointments to patients from the comfort and security of their home. If you would like us to help you or a loved one, please get in touch to make an appointment.



We use cookies, just to track visits to our website, we store no personal details. ACCEPT COOKIES What are cookies?