Do you feel worried about things returning to normal?

As restrictions ease, many people are saying they aren’t sure why, but they feel concerned about things going back to normal. For many of us, isolation went through some distinct stages. We started with shock and fear over the uncertainty, moved into acceptance and trying to make the most of it, then got REALLY over it and wanted things to go back to ‘normal’.

Now things are beginning to return to life before COVID-19, and we are trying to remember how we did life before it all happened. It might seem odd that now we are getting what we thought we wanted, we feel uneasy about it. Don’t worry, there are some reasons why this is the case:

  • 1. For starters, we adjusted to a new normal
    As humans we aren’t very good at coping with change, so just as we had to adjust when restrictions were brought in, we now have to learn to adjust back. Psychologists have compared this to when people live abroad and return home and get reverse culture shock. It takes time to re-adjust to our old lives.

  • 2. There is still a risk of infection
    This might have us all feeling a little on edge as we start to do more things outside of the house.

  • 3. Many of us have realised that we didn’t like the way we were living before COVID-19
    Maybe we were working too much, not seeing our family and friends enough or just not taking care of ourselves the way we should. This might make us feel uneasy that things will go back to being that way as soon as restrictions lift.

  • 4. Isolation has prompted symptoms of worry
    For some of us, being isolated as well as the change and fear brought on by the pandemic, may have prompted some mental health concerns. If you think this might be you, know that you’re not alone. Early findings from Monash University on the mental health impact of COVID-19 suggest that the majority of people they surveyed had mild levels of anxiety and depression and about 30% (more than 1 in 5 people) showed moderate to high levels. You might wish to speak to a professional about this (your GP is a great starting point), the earlier you get support the earlier that you can go back to feeling yourself.
So, if you’re returning to work, or starting to do things that you normally would again, try to be kind to yourself. It will probably feel weird for a while as you re-adjust. Also, make sure that you remember the things you learnt in this time about what’s important to you and continue those things in your life. Research has shown that it's possible for us to come out of bad times even better off than when we went in. This is the perfect time to make a commitment to live a life that is in line with what is important to you.