The much-touted ‘Freedom Day’ is almost upon us, but instead of celebrations, it’s anticipated to be a more subdued day as Covid case numbers, hospitalisations and deaths continue to rise. So, whilst some will be heading for the pub, club or theatre, others who are feeling anxious and unsettled will be staying at home. July 19th has even been described as ‘Fear Day’ by some.
The last 18 months have been very difficult for just about everybody, for a range of reasons. We’ve endured separations from friends and family, we may have worried about our jobs or finances as well as the threat of catching Covid and becoming ill or spreading it to our loved ones.
It’s understandable that many people have reported that they’ve been significantly more anxious than previously. We’ve all been experiencing a range of stressors in the last 18 months that were almost unimaginable pre-pandemic. More than 300 NHS workers attempted suicide during the pandemic, driven to the brink by the intense pressures of work.
Now that restrictions are ending, an adjustment is needed yet again, both mentally and physically. A recently published survey, led by London South Bank University reported that 1 in 5 people are struggling with what mental health experts have called ‘Covid-19 anxiety syndrome’, with many people significantly changing their behaviours due to anxiety about catching Covid. Ongoing high levels of stress and anxiety can significantly impact your quality of life and wellbeing. Because there are so many unknowns about the future, it can be difficult to separate out what is ‘normal’ stress or worry and what’s an unhealthy thought pattern that affects your enjoyment of life.
Over the course of the last 18 months, we’ve all developed habits that serve to reassure us in some way. For some checking the news regularly helps to keep them calm because it makes the unknowns more known, but for others it increases anxiety by keeping worrying statistics front of mind. For many, the habits developed during the pandemic are now driving their anxiety and many people report feeling overwhelmed just thinking about going into crowds to socialise.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed with worry over the idea of socialising or the threat of catching Covid, it can be helpful to make small adjustments that can help you feel more at ease. Just because restrictions are ending it doesn’t mean that you suddenly need to revert to pre-pandemic activities. Taking smaller steps, within your current zone of comfort can help you feel more confident and able to take additional steps in the future.
If you’ve noticed that you’re feeling anxious or worrying about the end of restrictions, please get in touch. I’ve worked with a lot of clients online throughout the pandemic, including many who haven’t experienced health anxiety or social activity previously and I understand.
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