‘Re-entry anxiety’; This may sound like an expression related to one of Elon Musk’s space ventures, but actually it’s a specific form of stress related to the fear of being unable to adapt to previously established routines from shopping, going to the gym or work or even travel.
We’re already taking steps out of lockdown, with more changes afoot for the whole of the UK next month. Whilst this is generally considered a good thing, it inevitably brings with it uncertainty, change, questions and concerns for us all.
A 2020 Ipsos Mori study examining re-entry anxiety found that over 60% of Britons felt uncomfortable with the thought of going back to hospitality settings, sporting events or using public transport when lockdown is lifted. Furthermore, only 49% of those employed said they’d feel comfortable going back to the office. Many of us have created a safe space we are reluctant to move out of.
It’s clear however the majority of us will have to think about how to ease ourselves back into the ‘real world’ at some point. Add to that, our ‘real world’ will also doubtless have changed. This is true whether we’re on the starting blocks ready to sprint to the pub, or whether we’re just considering a return to the office at some point in the future. So, what can we do to mitigate these worries?
Firstly, be reassured that it’s perfectly normal to have concerns. Change is typically unsettling at the best of times, so be forgiving of yourself and allow for any anxieties. There’s no need to push yourself out of your comfort zone too soon.
Moreover, don’t be afraid to share your concerns, whether it’s with a friend, or a health professional. Chances are, the person you’re sharing with will be reassured they could help, they’re not alone, and may even be keen to share their experiences too. As Nicola*, a PR Executive from Devon noted this week, “Everything just feels like it’s going a bit too fast. I feel like I need a period of adjustment.”
As you know, we’re big advocates of self-care here at La Pochette. Whether that’s physical or mental wellbeing, be sure to take a step back and invest in something that provides fulfilment and makes you feel good. This could be a run, a chat with friends, a good book or travel documentaries (our new ‘thing’!). With this in mind, there are also a number of meditation apps that have been around for a while which many people swear by. The Tapping Solution, (also known as emotional freedom technique), is a version specifically for anxiety which is seeing increased amounts of attention during the pandemic, and judging by the positive reviews, it’s certainly worth a look.
Taking this a step further, Nuffield Health conducted a ‘Healthier Nation Index’ poll examining the impact of anxiety, and ways in which we can help to mitigate it as we come out of the crisis. They found over a third of respondents reported high anxiety when asked how they felt the day before. Their recommendations to help address this include creating a ‘worry journal’ or way of reflecting not just on your concerns, but also remembering the good stuff too. Seeing it in black and white can help alleviate unease.
We’ll leave the last word to Clare, a Recruitment Consultant from Manchester, who speaks for us when she says, “I feel like I’ve lost my social skills, and I don’t think my wardrobe is up to scrutiny, but I’m going to try not to worry about it, get back out there, and just see what happens”.
For up to date guidance on Coronavirus restrictions in the UK visit the website here.