As we enter 2022, we also mark the end of two strange and sometimes gruelling years of lockdowns, uncertainty, and disconnectedness. Regardless of whether you’re excited to get back to pre-COVID “normal” or hesitant to leave the parts of lockdown that you found enjoyable, or a mix of both, it is important to take the time to reflect on how this change impacts your mental wellbeing.
Here are some things to keep in mind during this transition period:
- You can take things slowly: After a long period of hiatus, the simple things like catching the tram to work, hugging a friend, or having a drink at the pub can trigger nervousness and insecurity. As the pandemic imposed intrusive changes on us, it is natural to now question if our old world is still safe. Things that were easy at one time can now seem overwhelming, and that’s okay! Being self-compassionate and allowing yourself the time to get used to this new period is crucial.
- Reflect on the changes within you: Although it is tempting to focus on moving forward into the new year and away from the pandemic life, the lockdown experience may have had significant and lasting impacts. Did you realise you actually enjoyed working from home, and would like to continue doing so? Did you find that spending time with friends is more draining and you need more alone time than before? It is valuable to take note of any deeper changes within yourself, or what positive changes you could implement going forward.
- Be present for the small things: During the pandemic we had several large changes, but we also missed out on the little things we previously took for granted like catching up with co-workers over a coffee, having an impromptu stay over at a friend’s house, and the bustling noise of restaurants. Engaging with these actions now can help re-establish some sense of returning to old routines. Although they seem trivial, they can still be meaningful and add value to our days, so remember to be mindful and thankful for the small opportunities we get!
- Focus on your locus of control: Many of us have spent most of the last two years feeling out of control and find that fear of losing control carries into the new year. When this anxiety creeps in, pause and think about what parts of the situation are within your control. You may not be able to change the virus or others’ actions, but you can manage your own response and wellbeing. This may include actions on your part, like taking a break from the news that causes stress, or even regulating your mind and body using stress-management strategies like mindful breathing and regular exercise.
If you need assistance on discussing the above or would like to talk about any of your personal struggles please reach out, we are here to help.
By Keera Anand, Provisional Psychologist