How to cope with the new Covid-19 restrictions
Updated: Jan 19
Here in the UK, we're experiencing a blanket of new Covid-19 restrictions. Greater Manchester, Leicester, the North East, Lancashire, Merseyside, West Midlands, West Yorkshire, and more, are also currently facing stricter local restrictions. We know that these announcements, as well as the prospect of some form of another lockdown, is likely stirring a number of emotions for you, your family, children, and/or loved ones.
Below, we'll explore some of these commonly shared feelings, like uncertainty, confusion, and frustration. We'll also do our best to offer our professional opinion to support and reassure you in these strange times.
However you feel, know that it's ok
Some of us may be feeling frustrated, we finally saw our social lives return and had a taste of freedom only for it to be restricted again.
Some of us may be feeling irritated about the idea of another lockdown, working from home, or our children being out of school again.
Some of us may be fearful or anxious about their health, or their loved ones, as we see a rise in cases. It is normal to feel this way.
Some of us may feel anger bubbling up inside about not being able to visit family members or friends due to risk of infection - especially those we have not seen for months and months now.
And some of us may be fed up with feeling like we're stuck at home.
All of these feelings, and more, are normal.
"I didn't think I'd react like this"
We may have been expecting more restrictions to happen, but that doesn't mean we were mentally prepared, or ready, to hear them! Logic suggests that we should be prepared for the second wave of restrictions. We’ve done a lockdown before ... so, we can do it again – right? It's important to know that emotions and logic rarely go hand in hand. We need to make sure we all look after our mental health and avoid going into a downhill spiral. The first step to coping is to acknowledge that these feelings are normal and that you are not alone. It’s ok to feel this way.
"What can I do to ease these feelings?"
1. Go easy on yourself!
Some may handle this better than others, but we'll all struggle with Covid-19 in one way or another. It's easy to not adjust straight away, or ever. We’re all making it up as we go along. There will be things we don’t like, but remember, there were probably things you didn’t like about pre-covid life too. Try to recognise some of the things that may have even improved, like no long commute. Cut yourself some slack, give yourself time to rest and recover, and practice compassion for yourself.
2. Go easy on your loved ones too
This is a big adjustment for everyone, tensions may be higher in your household. You might be feeling like you have to hold everything together for everyone. You probably already know how to push their buttons, and they know how to push yours. Keep in mind that your loved one’s behaviour most likely isn’t personal, it's a common side effect of having things feel out of control. Give them some compassion, but remember that it may be helpful to instate some boundaries within your household to keep things a little calmer. Examples of useful boundaries include no shouting at each other, no name-calling, respecting space and personal time .
3. Look for the good
The crisis will eventually pass, it may not be on our preferred schedule, but it will subside. The ‘new normal’ phrase may be irritating, difficult or scary to come to terms with, and that’s ok. That is normal. As humans we are creatures of comfort, routine and structure. COVID-19 has thrown huge waves of uncertainty and feelings of less control at us. You are doing great.
Try our positivity activity:
We often hear about the negatives, and what is not going well. This week, try making a conscious effort to look for the positives. Have your relationships blossomed during this time? Do you enjoy not having to commute to work? Or maybe you now have more time to exercise or make time for yourself?
Write down a list of all the good things that have happened. Then, when things become a bit trickier look back at it, and remind yourself. This will help you to regain your positive perspective.
Lastly, here's bit of good news
While we must still remember that Covid-19 and the restrictions should be taken seriously, we can find comfort in acknowledging that our ability to cope with the virus has improved. We are more prepared, there are more tests and PPE available this time around, and we are more able to treat those experiencing symptoms. Try our positivity exercise (above) and try to get outside when you can, even for half an hour, or to enjoy a coffee. The fresh air will help to clear your mind. (Don’t forget to social distance when you are out and about).
Stay safe, stay kind, and keep going!
The Beingwell Family
For other Covid related advice, read up on how our brain is actually quite a useful piece of PPE here