Help! I’m worried about lockdown ending

Illustration shows a young person walking out of a cage, as a bird sits on the door. There are blue skies behind them.

What does post-lockdown mean?

The government has officially eased lockdown rules, meaning as things stand right now, you’re allowed to meet up with more friends and family from different households, visit pubs and restaurants and even have your hair cut!

You still have to follow some social distancing restrictions and rules are slightly different depending on where in the UK you live.

For a full summary, see this BBC article.

Is the easing of lockdown a good thing?

For some people, the end of lockdown might feel like a huge relief. You can go out again! You can see your mates and you can do all the things you’ve been missing so much over the past few months.

But this isn’t the way everyone feels, and many of us might not feel at all ready to go back to “normality.”

  • Though you may want to see your friends, the thought of putting yourself or others at risk of getting ill can be scary.
  • You might be dealing with loss.
  • You might be struggling with your mental or physical health.
  • You might not want things to change.

How do I cope with all this change and uncertainty?

Uncertainty can be uncomfortable. When the future is hard to predict it can make you feel like things are out of your control, which can be scary.

Anxiety and fear are reasonable and natural responses to big changes.

If you feel this way there’s nothing wrong with you and there’s no need to feel embarrassed.

  • Try talking to someone you trust about the way you’re feeling.
  • Sticking to a routine can help to give you a sense of control, even if it’s something small like reading before bed or going for a walk at the same time every day.
  • Try writing a list of all the things you can control.
  • Get creative! Try singing, dancing, playing music or painting to express how you’re feeling.

If you’re looking for some more support around coronavirus, check out our dedicated hub. 

What if I don’t feel comfortable going out yet?

Know that you don’t need to do anything you’re not comfortable with.

  • Take things at your own pace.
  • Communicate with your friends and family about how the changes are making you feel.
  • If it makes you feel safer, stick to meeting people in the park in smaller groups.
  • If you want to wear a mask when you see people then that’s fine too.

What if I’m shielding?

For those who are shielding (often people with long-term health conditions), the easing of restrictions won’t apply in the same way.

If you or someone in your family is shielding then it can be really stressful to see life returning to normal. It can also give you massive FOMO!

If you’re shielding or you’re worried about someone who is, know that you’re not alone.

Make sure you’re chatting to friends and family as much as you can. You can also chat things through with one of our team.

It might help to switch off from social media sometimes to avoid drawing comparisons.

Things are going back to normal, but I’m dealing with loss

Some people will have lost loved ones during the pandemic. It can be difficult to see normality returning when you’re dealing with grief and loss.

You may not have been able to see a loved one before they passed away. Restrictions may have meant that you couldn’t go to their funeral. This can make things feel twice as hard.

Grieving is one of the hardest things we go through, and everyone reacts differently. It’s ok if you’re struggling and it’s nothing to feel guilty about. But the fact that restrictions are easing also means that you can now see the people in your life that can support you through this time. Staying in touch with your friends and family can make a huge difference.

You might find our article on coping with grief helpful. Take a look at Barnardo’s article on coping with loss.

You could also sign up for bereavement counselling. You can get free counselling with The Mix here.

But, I liked some bits of lockdown!

Did you actually find lockdown nice and peaceful? Some people enjoyed the chance to slow things down and reconnect with the things they love doing.

You might also feel anxious about returning to school, university or to normal working life. But you’re not the only person who’ll be feeling this way.

  • Make a list of all the things you enjoyed about lockdown, so you know which habits you want to keep.
  • Talk to your employer or your teachers about what you need to feel comfortable going back to a more normal routine.
  • Take things slowly; no one is forcing you to rush back to a faster pace of life.

Stay connected

No matter how you’re feeling about a post-lockdown world, it’s important to remember that we’re all going through this together, and there’s no perfect way of coping.

The key thing is to stay connected to those around you and make sure you feel supported and heard.

You might find these articles by Mind and the Mental Health Foundation helpful.

Speak to our team for free and confidential support on anything and everything that’s on your mind.

Next Steps

  • If you're under 25 and would like free confidential telephone counselling from The Mix to help you figure things out complete this form and we'll call you to arrange your first session.
  • Mind offers advice and support to people with mental health problems. Their helpline runs nine to six from Monday to Friday. 0300 123 3393
  • Anyone can contact the Samaritans on their 24-hour helpline to talk things through. 116 123
  • Our Crisis Messenger provides free, 24/7 crisis support across the UK. If you’re aged 25 or under, you can text THEMIX to 85258
  • AnxietyUK run helplines, email support, live chats and therapy services for people with anxiety disorders. 08444 775 774
  • Chat about this subject on our Discussion Boards.

By Holly Turner

Updated on 16-Jul-2020