As NSW and Victoria come out of lockdown, how are you feeling? It’s only natural to feel a bit nervous as we move into this next stage of managing the pandemic.

Many people have some level of anxiety over going back to work or out in public – about 10% of people will experience some form of social anxiety in their lifetime. They enjoy the safety and comfort of being cocooned in the familiar surroundings of home. After months of having a valid reason to stay at home, it is hard for them to return to what is generally considered normal life.

Even without social anxiety, those of us who have been able to work from home have often benefited from not having to commute (one of my sons commutes for almost four hours per day – he has been looking so much more relaxed recently), or not having to deal with work-bullies.

Parents who have been home-schooling children may be feeling a sense of relief that schooling is going back to normal. Other parents are fearful of sending their vulnerable children back into classrooms where they may be infected. Some children are desperate to get back to school – others don’t want to return.

And trying to keep up with the constantly changing guidelines is another source of worry!

There are so many different reactions to coming out of lockdown.

Here are some ideas to help you cope with the changes:

1) Accept that conditions are going to be different to what they were pre-Covid so try to stay calm when things are not what you imagined they were going to be.

2) Be kind to yourself and, as far as possible, take as much time as you need to adjust. Of course, this might be difficult because of the demands of work. Do the best you can to do things for yourself. Eating well, drinking enough water, exercising, and getting enough sleep are all important in looking after your mental health.

3) If socialising is hard, don’t avoid it completely but ease back into it. Make plans to catch up with people that you feel most comfortable with even if it’s just for a quick cup of coffee.

4) Concentrate on what you can control about the situation e.g. wearing a mask, avoiding crowds.

5) Everything changed when we went into lockdown. Our usual routines were disrupted and any routines that we have since formed are now being disrupted again. Look for new routines. Even simple things like having a bedtime routine give us a feeling of stability in what can feel like chaotic times.

Remember to reach out for professional help if things are feeling really tough.