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Coping with “Re-entry Anxiety” Returning to “normal”

The pandemic has caused many disruptions in many ways, however as lockdown is easing. I will explain why we have had our confidence knocked and how we can stay resilient.

At the beginning we didn’t know what to expect, and we hadn’t experienced such prolonged isolation from others before.

It was a strange period, and after over a year of this. Our ability to find meaning in life has been affected, leading to more unhelpful shifts in our thinking and our mood.

With the pandemic having caused an “emotional rollercoaster” of emotions, it took away that source of contact with others, which is a common source of meaning in life.

How do you create a meaning of life?

Autonomy– the ability to feel in control of one’s life and use their core values.

Competence–   the ability to experience a sense of mastery.

Relatedness– the capacity to interact with others.

All have either been lessened, constrained or compromised by the pandemic.

So how do we go about doing this?

Ultimately how the “outside” impacts the “inside” is what psychology is all about. How we deal with these situations can make a huge difference to how we feel.

How do we stay resilient to this?

Reflection

Reflect on your day- either write it down or think about it.

  1. One thing that you found difficult, but made you feel good.
  2. What made you stick at that thing, despite it being hard.
  3. Why the thing you did might be important to others.
  4. Why this might be important to you.

Self Kindness:

Self Kindness involves accepting a situation and acknowledging that no one is perfect. It doesn’t mean we have to be complacent- it just means if we’re honest with ourselves, and ensure were fully accountable for our actions.

Speaking to yourself with kindness. It’s easier said than done. Just try to imagine what you would say to a friend.

“It’s okay if I’m feeling hesitant about going back to normal- I’ve been self- isolating for over a year, and my home has become my comfort zone”

“Lots of other people feel the same way- we’re all in the same boat”

“I will take small steps back to normality by walking a bit further away from home every day, and gradually doing more of the things I used to do”

Worry postponement:

Another thing we can do, is to consider our worries, the thoughts, images we experience in a repetitive way.

Worry can occur at any time or place, often without us being aware of it’s exact triggers. It’s also very tiring. It can interfere with our lives, and feel uncontrollable. This strategy is called “worry postponement” as it is – making worry wait.

  1. As you may be in the middle of your day, you suddenly have worries about the future.
  2. Write the worry down and tell yourself you’ll come back it later.
  3. After work, read your worry, and decide whether it’s a problem or not.
  4. If it is, ask yourself whether it is in your control or not.
  5. If it’s in your control, make a plan to solve it, or seek guidance for someone who can help you.
  6. If it’s not in your control, accept that you can’t do anything about it, let it go, and focus on the things you can do.

I hope this has shed some light for you on anxiety.

Have a lovely weekend

Jx