University of Kent Occupational Health and Wellbeing Manager, Brenda Brunsdon
On Sunday night we were told by the Prime Minister that the lockdown is being eased within an ongoing framework of social distancing. There was also a suggestion that people should go back to work if they can’t work from home.
Lifting the lockdown and the subsequent increased movement of people socially may trigger more concern and anxiety for many people.
If you are someone who feels they need support at this time, there is up to date information on the University’s communications pages on what is available and where to access this: https://staff.kent.ac.uk/news/22760/supporting-your-wellbeing-during-covid-19
In addition, reach out to your manager. Trigger a COPE discussion with them, if you haven’t already engaged in one, or suggest a review of it if you have.
It’s okay to be uncertain about increasing activity, the same way as it was okay to be concerned about the lockdown causing restricted activity. The background to all this is the threat from the coronavirus and that remains and will continue to cause anxiety for some.
To be able to function better, we can recognise our fears and challenge ourselves as to how valid they are. It’s about doing our own risk assessment. Ordinarily, we all do things which have an element of risk eg, drive cars, fly in aircrafts, walk across a road, commit to others in relationships. We cope because we assess the risk and deem it to be acceptable and manageable. The author Mark Twain said: “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.”
Below are some links to articles and webpages with information on post-lockdown stress and dealing with fears and anxiety at a wider level; you might find them useful:
‘Post Lockdown Anxiety’: Anxiety UK blog article
‘Post-lockdown anxiety?’: Natalie Cornish; Redonline
‘You Are The Only Thing You Can Control Right Now & That’s OK’: Jess Commons; Refinery 29
‘3 simple tricks from a psychologist to instantly calm anxiety over the news’: Natalie Cornish; Redonline
‘Overcoming Fear’: Z. Hereford; EssentialLifeskills.net
‘How to Overcome Fear and Anxiety’: Mental Health Foundation article