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Post-lockdown anxiety: How I’m actually feeling vs how I think I should be feeling

by Jodie – 23rd Mar 2021

The never-ending turmoil that our life has become. Where our routine goes a little something like…

  • Get out of bed
  • Study/work/school
  • Home
  • Eat
  • Bathe
  • Sleep

Some of us might not even leave the house to do these things! Sound familiar?  I know it does to my ears!

The first lockdown -. It was warm, I was at home, exercising every day! Eating healthily and I was feeling pretty positive. I felt quite lucky actually, for all of the time I had to take care of my physical and mental health.

However, after sometime, the fear of this constant Groundhog Day, looking at the same four walls, zero social contact with any of my friends, family or colleagues and having nothing new to talk about left me feeling empty and kind of hopeless to be honest. I was READY to go back to work. To get back to a new ‘normal’ and into a bit more of a routine. I was itching to be social again.

When lockdown lifted after the summer school holidays, going back to work was HARD! Working in a school meant being on a rota, only being in school some of the time supporting vulnerable pupils and pupils of key workers. Work seemed harder because everyone around me was feeling the effects of coming back to school after being off for the longest possible time, during a global pandemic and having all the time in the world. People’s mental health weren’t (and still aren’t, let’s be honest) in the best place. We’d not been here for 6 whole months!

There was the fear, the uncertainty of being around other people, wondering what was acceptable? what was not? Is this in-line with the Government guidance? Can we do PE in a global pandemic? Gah! My head hurts just thinking about it.

Fast forward a little time from then and lockdown 2.0 comes along just before Christmas. Oh, how lovely! NOT. We’re used to this a little bit now. Things seem slighter easier now. We’ve been doing this almost a year now..

The point I’m making is, really, we’ve become accustomed to this life. Adapting and evolving to new situations as the primal beings we are and we’ve learnt to live in a new kind of ‘normal.’

Now on Monday, 22rd January 2021, the Government announced the Roadmap out of Lockdown. The future is looking brighter and the past year has been… bleak. Samey and bleak.

Everyone around me, my social media is FILLED with everyone sharing about that date. The 21st June. How they’re ready to mingle, see friends, go clubbing. Even my family and friends are talking about ‘booking tickets’ for events and I just feel… well, that’s the thing. I just don’t know how I’m feeling. ANXIOUS! I’m nervous to be social again, to break out of the ‘comfort blanket’ of a rut I am in. I have wanted life to go back to ‘normal’ for so long and now with that in sight, I’m anxious. What is wrong with me? Does anyone else feel this way? Surely, I can’t be the only person.

I’m thinking about if I actually want to go to these places or if it’s just because ‘I can go’ and ‘should go’ and ‘to make up for lost time.’ I’m thinking about how I need to behave socially with others after so long been away from them. I feel like the only social skills I have are in speaking at work, ABOUT WORK!

I am so, so ready to get back to being ‘Jodie’ and not just a teacher; but I feel nervous about meeting up with others, removing social-distancing and knowing what it is that I want to do with my life when all of the lockdown eventually lifts. I know in hindsight it will be exciting and it is what I NEED to be ok. There is a huge part of me that is excited, happy and definitely relieved that there is end in sight and it is an absolute breath of fresh air for everyone and everything.

I know I need to practise being kind to myself and give myself time to adjust. It’s important to focus on the positive things that will come from the end of a global pandemic lockdown. Like actually living through it! I’m lucky to have my family and colleagues around me, and sharing this with them has helped me to understand it is ok to feel apprehensive and uncertain. They remind me of all of the wonderful things we can do together again and that makes me feel hopeful and positive. I need to tell myself it is ok to feel this way and remember that!

Be kind to yourself everyone, because I know that we are living in a time we never imagined living through, and we all have gotten through it! We’re incredible and we should be proud.

More on surviving lockdown from MindMate

More on dealing with anxiety from MindMate

Images from Create to Donate and Stylist

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