After a year of lockdowns and restrictions, the recent easing of restrictions and a move back towards normality may feel overwhelming.
For many of us, our mental health has suffered this past year, staying home and not seeing people has become our new normal, and while it's been hard, the thought of getting back to our pre-lockdown lives can seem pretty scary.
Lockdown life became slower, smaller, more insular and many of us have grown comfortable in these times.
If you're feeling anxious and overwhelmed at the thought of group situations, or the uncertainty of the next few months, you are not alone.
Here are five ways to ease that feeling of overwhelm.
1 Take it slow
If you feel anxious about getting out of your comfort zone and getting back to your old life, recognise this and remind yourself that it's to be expected. Don't compare your experiences to other peoples. Don't feel as though you have to jump straight into all your old routines and activities. Dip your toes in gradually and give yourself time to adjust.
2 Talk about it
Rather than feeling bad about any anxieties and worries, reach out and talk to a friend or loved one. Opening up about how you are feeling can help you stay connected, and you may find that others are feeling the same way you are too.
3 Build boundaries
Everyone will react to the end of lockdown in different ways. Some may be ready to get straight back into pre-lockdown lives, some may be more cautious. Wherever you fit in on getting back to normal life, don't feel pressured by others. It's ok to set boundaries that you feel comfortable with and take things at your own pace.
4 Re-evaluate what matters to you
One good thing to have come from this year for many of us, is the realisation of what really matters to us. With life stripped back to just the essentials, we saw what we really missed and what we didn't. As life re-starts, think carefully about what you want to put back into your life, and the things that are no longer important to you.
5 Be kind to yourself
Remember to give yourself grace. Practice some self-compassion and don't feel bad about the way that you feel. Instead of pushing your feelings aside and pushing through, accept your feelings and allow yourself time to re-adjust. Take time to practice self-care and really look after yourself.