The government will this week lift England’s Plan B restrictions introduced to tackle the Omicron variant.
It signals the end of mandatory face coverings in public places and COVID passports; while the advice for people to work from home was dropped last week.
And while some people will see the easing of restrictions as steps towards normality again, for others this new and different world will be a source of anxiety – coronavirus hasn’t gone away after all.
If you’re feeling re-entry anxiety, our member Lara Waycot says you’re not alone.
“The constant state of flux with the rules changing have created a level of ambiguity that can be anxiety inducing for some, leaving us not knowing where we stand and feeling in a state of limbo.
“Yes, the rules are lifting but, for how long? At least within lockdown we have some form of certainty - that we're locked down. When they lift, we're in a state of limbo that we can't count on.
“This creates a pressure of 'making the most' of the time we are not in lockdown, even if we may not want to or have the connections to enable us to do so.”
Lara added: “We’ve been on high alert because of our health and now our threat response feels activated.
“Being out and about again might not feel safe for us or our loved ones and it’s hard to just switch this off.
“As socialising picks up again, we could also have social anxiety. We got so used to being indoors with limited interactions that our socialising might now feel clumsy.
“We may feel under a microscope and be overanalysing our part within an interaction with fear of how we are coming across or look to others.”
Lara said that the many changes to the rules and restrictions over the last two years have created a feeling of uncertainty for some that has fuelled their anxiety.
“The constant state of flux with the rules changing have created a level of ambiguity that can be anxiety-inducing for some, leaving us not knowing where we stand and feeling in a state of limbo.
“Yes, the rules are lifting but, for how long? At least within lockdown we have some form of certainty – that we're locked down.
“When they lift, we're in a state of limbo that we can't count on. This creates a pressure of making the most of the time we are not in lockdown, even if we may not want to or have the connections to enable us to do so.”
What to do
- Find the balance between taking it at your pace and some gentle exposure out of your comfort zone
- Speak to those around you – you may be surprised you're not the only one feeling this way
- Ground yourself in the present moment. Anxiety is often a worry of the future, the what ifs. To counteract this we can practice mindfulness to be in the present. Really hone in on the conversations you're having, the people you're speaking to, the weather and the environment
- Speak to a professional. These anxieties are coming up a lot with clients, and counsellors can offer a judgment-free space for you to work through these feelings
To find a BACP-register counsellor or psychotherapist, visit our Therapist Directory.
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