So, now that Covid restrictions have eased and we are all out and about again, I’m feeling a little unnerved and it seems I’m not the only one.  So many of FFFN’s subscribers & followers have made comments on FB & Insta and sent messages about their feelings coming out of lockdown, especially our awesome Victorian crew who were hit with the most severe of restrictions.

Living with intensive lockdown orders for the last two+ years was certainly impactful enough, but now that everything is apparently (almost) back to what we once knew, I honestly feel that it is anything but!

I’m loathed to admit it, but there was a big part of me that enjoyed being at home.  It brought me back to ground zero.  I spent time reconnecting with my husband and children, invested time into home improvements and projects, cooked, exercised, read and binge watched all the Netflix series I never got a chance to previously.  I enjoyed a more quiet, sedentary existence and found life a little less stressful and busy.  Of course, I also missed my loved ones (family & friends alike), missed socialising and celebrating and all I craved was to go out to a nice restaurant for dinner and to the movies.  There were times where I felt isolated and alone, especially as time progressed and lockdown extensions continued.  It felt like there was no end in sight (I am Victorian, BTW!).

10 tips for managing anxiety out of lockdown

During 2020 and 2021, we were inundated by fear mongering and scare tactics via all media platforms.  You couldn’t watch the news or jump on Instagram/Facebook or listen to the radio without Covid being the main topic of conversation.

The fear of the unknown with this virulent illness that was sweeping the world and taking out thousands at a time was in our own backyards and we were all shitting ourselves that we would catch it.  Even worse, if we caught it, WE MIGHT DIE.

This was the resounding message put forward by the media for two very long, very arduous years.

Now we are out of lockdown, the goal posts have been shifted about a million times with isolation rules, restrictions for primary & secondary contacts, vaccination mandates, mask wearing requirements, etc, etc; half the time I don’t know whether I’m bloody Arthur or Martha!

I feel like I’ve been on a merry-go-round for the last two and a bit years and I’ve not been able to get off at any stage.  Now that the merry-go-round has stopped and everything is open and we are free from captivity, I’m so bloody dizzy that I don’t know where to turn or what to do first.  But I do know I am feeling anxious, much more frequently than I was before the pandemic.  This seems to be a common theme in our community at large.

Almost everyone I have seen or spoken to over the last five months of freedom has felt some version of the same.  We were conditioned for so long to be so scared, but now all the warnings about the dangers of Covid are virtually moot and we’re all expected to just move on unscathed.

Please know, I’m not for one moment denying the severity of Covid.  I am not overlooking the vulnerable people in our society who became and continue to become seriously unwell, and those who have devastatingly lost their lives to the virus.  In fact, I myself contracted Covid at the beginning of the year and was quite unwell for a good few weeks.  It was not pleasant and I don’t wish it on anyone.  I was one of the fortunate people who recovered with minimal consequences and I am very thankful for this.

Seeing how many people are feeling anxious and uncertain in the big wide world again prompted me to do some research into ways to deal with these unwanted feelings.

So, the FFFN army & I have compiled a list that may help you combat feelings of anxiety & uncertainty in our ever-changing society.

10 tips for managing anxiety out of lockdown

Here are our top 10 tips for managing anxiety out of lockdown:

  1. Do things at your own pace. It’s not a race and there’s no rush to reintegrate back into society.
  2. Take opportunities to relax. An increase in stress requires a good balance with downtime.
  3. Find routine. Being able to fall back into your pre-Covid comfort zone may take time and you may even develop new routines, but either way, a semblance of order can be helpful.
  4. Writing down thoughts, events, fears and feelings can be really cathartic and be an excellent release.
  5. Discuss your feelings and thoughts with others. Confide in a safe, trustworthy support network and let them know if you need help.
  6. Plan social outings. It doesn’t need to be a big event, even just a coffee at a local café with a friend or family member.
  7. Focus on the present. The past two years have been super challenging and it is easy to get caught up worrying about the past.  Channelling your energy into the here and now can be a good way to manage things at a local level rather than thinking too far outside what you can’t control.
  8. Take time to be outdoors. It doesn’t need to be far away, it can be in your own backyard.  Breathing in fresh air and being exposed to sunshine and vitamin D can increase your serotonin levels, which promotes mood regulation.
  9. Don’t avoid things you ordinarily would have done pre-lockdown. Although this may seem like a short-term solution, avoidance can make things harder in the long-term.  Set yourself small, manageable targets and gradually build up as you feel increased confidence.
  10. Seek information from credible sources that are evidence based. It’s really easy to access a multitude of conflicting, contradictory information about Covid.  Be selective in your research, avoid social media platforms, resist the temptation in buying into propaganda and don’t get caught up in conspiracies and controversies that may fuel anxiety levels.

I hope that some or all of these ideas resonate with you.  Here’s to being happy, healthy, prosperous and most importantly, Far From Fkn Normal!!

Catch you in the next blog!

Certain topics discussed in FFFN’s blogs include content relating to mental health, suicide and other triggers.  If you are experiencing any mental health concerns, please contact your GP or nearest healthcare facility.  In the event of an emergency, please call 000.  For community support, please reach out to LifelineBeyond Blue or other credible mental health organisations. FFFN do not provide any professional mental health or medical advice and/or treatment.