How to build resilience when faced with post-lockdown anxiety

By Joanne Fiddy | 05 Apr 2021

As we get ready to get back into the world, here’s how we can encourage resilience in ourselves, our families and our businesses

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Jo Fiddy is a Life Coach and EFT Practitioner, working with the mind and body, to with anxiety and burnout. For more information, consultancy and free guided meditations visit jofiddy.com

The UK is finally starting to emerge from what has felt like a long winter of lockdown restrictions. While there are ripples of excitement and joy at being able to see loved ones and socialise again, there are also waves of anxiety and uncertainty on what the new post lockdown brings. And, as it turns out, this feeling is not uncommon. According to the mental health charity Anxiety UK, a further rise in anxiety levels can be expected with easing of lockdown restrictions. 

After spending a year living through disruptive and uncertain times, it is normal to feel anxious about returning to the former status quo, whatever your role or status. There might be questions and worries on how to step into the new normal. Maybe there are parts of lockdown that you have enjoyed and are loath to give up. 

A bit of worrying is actually healthy and natural; worry helps us to plan ahead and look for potential clues for future problems. However, worrying becomes a problem when it overrides thoughts and behaviour to become a constant drumbeat that keeps you awake at night and impacts your life. So how can we ensure we remain energised, without feeling stressed?

TIPS ON EMERGING FROM LOCKDOWN

When it comes to socialising, start slowly and go at your own pace. Being kind and gentle to your mental health during this transition period will pay off enormously, and your brain will thank you for it. 

Planning our re-entry into life is much like undertaking any major project in business or life. Take the time to create coping strategies to guide you through the coming months by asking yourself some simple questions: what is the first step that you can take? Is there anywhere you would like to visit, even locally?? Who would you like to meet?   

Having a strategy can also help with situations such as attending weddings, birthdays and helping your team return to the workplace, creating an element of control in an uncertain time. 

When we are feeling stressed or anxious, the amygdala in the brain – the CEO of our flight, flight or freeze response – goes into overdrive and pushes the panic button. This releases a flood of protective cortisol into our body to fight or run away from danger. Our brains are hardwired from the Caveman Era, so the panic and fear you experience within your body, can feel very, very real. Add to this the way that extended time indoors, perhaps without regular exercise, effects the hormone production in the body, and these regular patterns begin to show signs of burnout and exhaustion.

An easy technique to release excess anxiety, is to shake and move your body from the tips of your toes to the top of your head. Shaking is the body’s natural way to release anxiety and it also activates the parasympathetic nervous system which alerts the brain to calm down. The second benefit is that it activates the lymphatic system, which helps to rid the body of toxins. I end my working day dancing or shaking to release excess cortisol and adrenaline that might have built up during the day. Not only do I feel more present, but this simple technique also helps me sleep. Try shaking out your anxiety for 5-10 minutes at the end of a day. 

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THE POWER OF MANIFESTATION

Far from being the remit of quacks and folktales, the power of manifestation has become more popular than ever in recent years. The theory behind the technique is that our brains do not know the difference between what is real and what Is fiction, so how you speak to yourself – and what you believe about yourself – has power. 

Visualisation and repetition are two simple ways to begin your positive manifestation journey, and one simple technique is to place positive affirmations where you will see them – around the house or your work space. These could include:

  • I am a calm and confident person 
  • I let go of self-doubt and embrace courage 
  • I trust my capabilities
  • I can handle whatever today brings

The post-pandemic months will be the start of a new era filled with positive possibilities. Take these affirmations a step further by creating a vision board – digitally on Pinterest or physically – and place it somewhere prominent to manifest how you would like your life to look in 2021.

Reflective journaling can help bring to the surface dreams and desires buried within. Some questions to ask yourself could include:

  • What do I really want?
  • What stops me from achieving this?
  • What would I do if I knew I could not fail?
  • What do I want more of in 2021? 
  • What brings me joy?
  • Who do I like being with?
  • What is my perfect day? 
  • What three steps can I take each month to create my perfect day? 

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EFT: FINDING A RHYTHM

EFT Tapping is the wellness tool of 2021, which puts the power back into your fingertips. A combination of ancient Chinese acupressure meets Modern Psychology, one simply taps on the meridian points on the body while saying how you feel. A round of tapping can feel quite silly at first, however studies have shown time and time again that this method communicates to the nervous system to slow and calm down. Some practitioners say that tapping can also boost the collagen in your face – stress buster and facial in one!