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Tips for mental wellbeing during the ‘new normal’

mental wellbeing during a new normal

With lockdown easing, it may feel like we are taking significant steps back to normal life (or ‘new normal’). However, as official advice continually changes, many of us may feel like we are riding an ‘emotional rollercoaster’. You might be feeling reluctant or anxious to take the first trip on public transport, or going to a socially distanced meet up with friends. For those who have been shielding over the past four months, even the smallest step may seem like a big challenge to overcome.

With this in mind, below are some useful tips to help you to look after your mental wellbeing as lockdown restrictions lift.

Take your time

With the world slowly getting back to normal, you may feel a pressure to engage with everything straightaway. However, there’s no need to rush, and doing everything at once may leave you feeling overwhelmed.

Instead, ease yourself back into your normal pre-lockdown schedule and plan out your activities so you only have a couple per week, leaving time to relax and recuperate between each ‘new’ experience. Whether that be scheduling the first time that you commute back into work (if you are able to do so), meeting up with friends, or going to the shops. That way, it will feel less overwhelming as you adjust to new experiences.

Planning can be helpful

If you’re nervous about catching public transport or meeting up with friends, planning can help you feel more in control. Try and travel during off-peak hours or plan a quieter route and plan out how long it would take. You could also write a list of things that you would need to take with you on your trip, such as, a mask, hand sanitiser and your wallet.

While things may seem uncontrollable during this time, it’s important to remember that there are things that you can control.

Don’t forget to breathe

Take things one moment at a time and remember to breathe. It may sound simple but when we experience stress, our breathing gets faster and shallower. When you feel yourself getting worked up, breathe slowly and deeply into your belly to override your stress response so that you feel calmer.

Meditating before leaving the house can help you relax and find a sense of calm. Here are some resources you can use to help you meditate:

Give yourself a break and be kind

It’s important to be kind to yourself and not beat yourself up if you’re struggling to get into a ‘new normal’ routine. Remind yourself that we’re currently living in extraordinary times and it’s okay to feel hesitant about going back to normal.

By practising self-kindness and compassion, it may help you to become more accepting as things return to normal. It is also a great way to improve your emotional wellbeing.

Stay informed but not alarmed

As we adjust to a ‘new normal’, it’s helpful to keep an eye on the news due to the changing Covid-19 landscape and the ongoing updates regarding what you are and aren’t allowed to do.

However, tuning in to every single development can easily become overwhelming. To stay informed but not alarmed, try the following:

  • Get your information from reputable sources rather than from opinions on social media where people are venting and voicing their concerns (which can then increase your own distress).

  • Focus on developments locally rather than globally when estimating your risk of contracting Covid-19. This helps you to be appropriately concerned rather than get caught up in anxiety.

Need extra support?

We’re here to help. We are still accepting referrals during the current pandemic. We offer the following services:

  • Talking Therapies (IAPT) – Short-term support for when you experience difficult emotions, such as, low mood, worry and stress
  • Peer Support – Wellbeing workshops, one-to-one peer support, peer support groups, social activities and peer support training with other people who have had similar experiences to you
  • Employment – Advice and support to gain and retain paid employment, improve your employability skills and know your rights in the workplace
  • Navigators – Practical support with a range of issues including benefits, debt, housing options, access to health and social care services and support to access specialist advice and information
  • Self-Care – Support and activities that help you to take care of your own mental, emotional and physical wellbeing

Refer to the Community Living Well service here.

Author: Michelle Jackson
Posted on: 26th August 2020

SMART St Mary Abbots Rehabilitation and Training