As we take the first major step out of lockdown today, allowing people to gather outside in groups of 6 or two households many people are feeling a sense of relief and optimism as they contemplate the progressive easing of restrictions. While this is an exciting time for many, others are worrying about the easing of lockdown and the impacts it will have on their mental health.
The past 12 months have been tough on just about all of us, for some they’ve heightened levels of anxiety to the point that that the idea of lockdown easing and socialising recommencing brings worry, anxiety and fear. The two-pronged message that’s being put out by the Government does little to quell any fears. While we are being given more freedoms, there are constant warnings about the third wave sweeping through Europe.
For people living with social anxiety or generalised anxiety disorder (GAD), the changes to restrictions bring back pressures that they’ve not had to consider for many months. Some fear that because of so many months of not socialising they will be under increased pressure to socialise and get out and about. Others fear that the restrictions have been eased to early and worry that taking advantage of the relaxed rules might end with them contracting covid.
The National Council for Hypnotherapy has over 2000 fully-trained therapists across the UK on its register. It says that anxiety issues are becoming more common with more people seeking help for their levels of stress and anxiety as lockdown eases. The NCH states that high levels of stress and anxiety can significantly impact on a person’s quality of life and wellbeing.
In the current situation, it can be difficult to separate out what is ‘normal’ stress and when it tips over into unhealthy thought patterns that then affect your enjoyment of life. People look online at social media and see others celebrating and then feel like their reactions are wrong or incorrect.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by feelings of worry or anxiety about the idea of socialising, whether it’s the idea of being around people again or the threat of covid, it can be helpful to know that you’re not alone. Focus on the present and try and find small adjustments that you can make that help you feel more at ease. Maybe that’s only meeting up with one friend at a time, rather than feeling compelled to expand the group to 6, or if it’s staying local and avoiding packed public transport.
If the levels of anxiety you’re feeling are affecting other areas of your life it might be time to consider talking to a professional. Working with a hypnotherapist may help you feel more confident and more at ease about things which have previously been challenging for you says the NCH. A qualified clinical hypnotherapist can assist individuals in learning to better understand anxiety and change their relationship to their anxious thoughts and feelings.
“Hypnotherapy unlocks the potential you have to break free of negative thought patterns, and to react more positively and more confidently to situations in your life that may have previously made you anxious.”
If you’re affected by the idea of lockdown easing, a few sessions with a qualified hypnotherapist can teach you tools that will enable you to feel more confident and in control. To contact your nearest NCH-registered therapist simply click here.