How to cope with leaving lockdown

Written by Lydia Serrant a History BA(hons) NTU Alumni

The worldwide pandemic caused a lockdown of almost every village, town, and city across the UK and abroad.

Whilst the government and local councils scrambled to control the spread of the virus and ease the pressure on the NHS, another crisis is slowly on the rise which now threatens the well being of thousands of people – isolation.

Issues concerning the impact of long-term isolation and mental health are only now being understood.  Those who were already vulnerable had to find a new way to cope, and those who have never had a diagnosis now find themselves confronting new states of mind. 

If you or someone you know is anxious about leaving lockdown, below are a few of my tips that may help you safely adjust to the ‘new normal’.

Plan Ahead

Many people are experiencing heightened anxiety levels worrying about the risk of actually catching the virus. Whilst the risk is present, planning ahead of time and taking measures will both keep you safe and lessen some of the worries.

If you do travel, plan carefully about how you are going to get there. What is the least busy time? What social distancing measures are in place? Do they have masks and hand sanitizer available en route and when you arrive? If they do not, consider taking your own.

Deal with Each Worry in Turn

Sometimes we are worried about multiple things, which can make us feel overwhelmed. If you are worried about school, work, your social circle, and family, write them down and address them in turn. 

Only focus on one worry at a time and take practical steps to overcome it. If your worried about school work, call or email your administrator. If you’re concerned about visiting a family member, give them a call instead. Do not think that you have to do these all in one day either. Tackle your worries at a pace that is right for you.

Take One Small Step at a Time

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was the life and routine you had before you entered lockdown. If you struggle at large gatherings or in crowded spaces and lockdown had made this worse, go back to basics. Don’t force yourself out of the house into uncomfortable situations, instead, take small steps towards socialising. Meet a friend in a quiet place for a one to one chat and go from there. 

Just because it is currently understood to be safe to leave lockdown, doesn’t mean that you have to. Whilst many may feel that they need to run from isolation, many people enjoy their own company.

The objective is to find balance. If you feel you are being negatively affected by isolation there are plenty of small steps you can take and don’t forget there is lots of help out there too.

Whatever you chose to do, stay safe and make a promise to take care of you!

Don’t forget that Student Support Services are still here to support you and we are regularly posting through TwitterFacebook and Instagram as well as over on the Virtual Global Lounge Team

For help and advice whilst studying at NTU, take a look at the following for sources of support.
Support from NTU
Silvercloud: SilverCloud is our online system designed to help with a range of mental health issues.
Depression advice
Wellness in Mind: Advice and support for anyone in Nottingham experiencing issues with their mental wellbeing
Struggling at Uni? Go to Student Minds
10 Keys to happiness

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