Coronavirus: Are you feeling 'post-lockdown anxiety'?

If you're anxious about a life after lockdown, you’re not alone, many are experiencing what experts are calling ‘post-lockdown anxiety’.

Anxiety UK has seen a huge rise in people contacting them for support over the last few weeks in relation to worries about the easing of lockdown restrictions - they've seen a 430% rise in calls to their helpline from the year before.

ITV News spoke to Dave Smithson from Anxiety UK to find out how to identify and manage anxiety in uncertain times.

What is post-lockdown anxiety?

Post-lockdown anxiety is really that fear and that worry that we are going to experience or might already be experiencing about what’s going to happen once these restrictions are lifted.

We quickly adjusted to that 'new normal', we felt safe, we felt protected at home and I think the novelty factor of not having to go to work, not having to sit in traffic or on the train, the pace of life was a bit slower, it was a bit more comfortable, maybe there were positives about being at home that we hadn't really explored or understood initially.

Why are people worried about changing their routines?

Now as we face the restrictions being lifted and the number fear that we know from our survey is the people are worried about catching the virus, lifting those restrictions, is taking away those comfort zone we've got into by being at home, a slower pace, the benefits that we've identified from working from have been quite measurable and noticeable and people are going to miss that in some cases.

Post-lockdown anxiety is really that fear and that worry that we are going to experience.Post-lockdown anxiety is really that fear and that worry that we are going to experience.

What are the physical symptoms of anxiety?

Some of the most common physical symptoms are increased heart rate, muscle tension, jelly legs, tingling in the hands and feet and sometimes hyperventilating - over breathing, short shallow breathing, dizziness, feeling sick, they want to use the bathroom more often than normal, you might get tension headaches, hot flushes, dry mouth, shaking,

What are the psychological symptoms?

Sometimes the psychological symptoms can be thinking that you’re losing control or that you’re going mad, sometimes you worry that you’re going to be sick or you are going to faint or you’re going to have a heart attack. You feel that your worry about people are conscious about your anxiety and look like you worry about things, you’re feeling detached environment and the people in it.

How can you help manage your anxiety?

Self-help techniques we've been promoting such as the apple technique:

  • Acknowledge

  • Pause

  • Pull back

  • Let go and

  • Explore

Or a simple breathing technique that can help get the parasympathetic nervous system going - breathing in for four, hold for two out for six - emphasising and making sure that you're breathing out longer than you’re breathing in and just repeat that for half a dozen times or more.

If you find that simple self-help exercises don't help you, you might want to contact us and speak to one of our advisors on our helpline.

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