How to readjust to life after lockdown.

Is it time for your ‘MOT’ with COVID rules ending?

A couple of months ago, the government announced a "roadmap" to steer the country out of lockdown. The earliest date that *all* restrictions could be dropped is 21 June (a Monday). Whilst some people can’t wait to hug friends and family members many of us are feeling apprehensive.

We thought it would help to develop a section on our website where we can share suggestions and tips around helping people to cope with fears surrounding life after lockdown:

How are you feeling now?

  • Firstly accept that it is normal to feel worried about lockdown ending and normal' life returning?
  • Going back to ‘new’ old routines will feel unusual and can even make us fearful, anxious, frustrated, angry or nervous.
  • It will definitely take time to adjust and the time we need will be different for all of us
  • Don’t expect that everything will go back to just how it was before. This is setting unrealistic expectations and will only lead to feeling disappointed, frustration, and even anger. Ignore pressures from those around you who may be going at a quicker pace.
  • Do you feel you have lost your social skills?
  • Avoid making comparisons and if it doesn’t work first time then aim to learn and try again."

In the past year, we have all faced challenges that we didn’t expect to and have had to adapt to a new way of life. Maybe your bedroom has become your office or you have taken on the role of teacher?

COVID-19 has left a lot of us feeling isolated and unable to access vital services. Many of us have not been able to spend as much time with our loved ones as we normally would and have felt the uncertainty of not knowing when we will see them again. Some of us may have felt our support networks have broken down or disappeared.

As a result, you may be feeling anxious or alone, and it may be taking a toll on your wellbeing.


5 steps to wellbeing

Evidence suggests there are 5 steps you can take to improve your mental health and wellbeing. Trying these things could help you feel more positive and able to get the most out of life.

1. Connect with other people

Good relationships are important for your wellbeing.  There are lots of things you can try to help build stronger and closer relationships They can:

  • help you to build a sense of belonging and self-worth
  • give you an opportunity to share positive experiences
  • provide emotional support and allow you to support others

2. Be physically active

Being active is not only great for your physical health and fitness, but evidence also shows it can also improve your emotional health by:

  • raising your self-esteem.
  • helping you to set and achieve challenges and goals.
  • causing chemical changes in your brain which can help to positively change your mood.

Due to COVID restrictions, many of us may not have been moving as much, so staying active has not been as easy but try to keep moving, get outside every day to do just one thing a day that elevates your heart rate. Even a short walk can help clear your mind and leave you feeling calmer and your body and mind will thank you.

Find out more from Northamptonshire Sport 

3. Learn new skills

Research shows that learning new skills can also improve your wellbeing by:

  • boosting self-confidence and raising self-esteem
  • helping you to build a sense of purpose
  • helping you to connect with others

Even if you feel like you don’t have enough time or want to study something new, there are lots of ways to bring learning into your life. It’s best to find activities you enjoy and make them a part of your everyday.

  • learning to cook something new. Find out about healthy eating and cooking tips.
  • consider signing up for a course at a local college or on-line, e.g., learning a new language or a practical skill.
  • A new hobby, such as writing a blog, taking up a sport or learning to paint.

4. Give to others

Small acts of kindness towards other people, or larger ones like volunteering in your local community according to research can help improve your wellbeing by:

  • creating positive feelings
  • giving you a feeling of purpose and self-worth
  • helping you connect with other people

5. Pay attention to the present moment (mindfulness)

Paying more attention to the present moment, understanding your thoughts and feelings about your body and the world around you can improve wellbeing allowing you to enjoy life more.  Some people call this awareness "mindfulness”, it can positively change the way you feel about life and how you approach challenges.

Find out more

    Here are some tips we have picked up from others

    Establish a support network.

    Consider which of your family and friends you can reach out to for support and in what circumstances.  Reconnect with others gradually starting with those you really trust and slowly scale up.  Tell people how you are feeling so that you can share your concerns and boundaries.  Honest communication is key to creating a solid support network.

    Manage your relationship with social media.

    Social media can raise anxiety and negatively impact life.  If you start feeling stressed or comparing yourself to others, try taking a 24-hour break and see how you feel.

    Manage your relationship with the news.

    Much like with social media, the news can be a great source of anxiety for many people. This year more than ever, you may find yourself checking the news frequently for updates but feeling more stressed as a result. Try limiting how often you check the news and turn alerts off on your phone.

    Make a new routine and stick to it

    We have all seen changes this year and some of us are now used to adapting to new situations. However, many of us haven’t found this easy and are still struggling to settle into new routines that fit our new lifestyle.  You may find that your bedtime needs altering, or your work hours have changed. Once you have found a routine that works, stick to it.

    Just because “It could be worse”, it doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be better

    When we all know so many people are facing struggles with their health or financial security it is easy to brush off the things we are going through.  There is no limit to people feeling they are in a bad place, so don’t neglect your worries and feelings.  Find opportunities within your support network to talk about what’s going on with you.

    It is OK to put yourself first

    For many, this is difficult to do and can lead to feelings of guilt or selfishness.  Take some time for yourself and figure out what is best for you right now.  You will be surprised how many people will empathise and support you.

    Don’t be afraid to speak to your GP

    If you’re not sure you need medical support, have a chat with your GP rather than staying in doubt.  Surgeries are open but they are working differently so just call. 

    Online Resources

    Your covid recovery   Mental health   

    My Lockdown Experience

    We hope by creating this piece and adding to it over the next few weeks up to Carers Week 7th -11th June and beyond that we can help to reassure Carers who are feeling unsettled by lockdown changes.

    We will be sharing experiences and if you would like to share yours or any tips you can complete the form below.  We plan to share on our website to help others with their wellbeing so only send them to us if you are happy with this.

    Here is an example to give you an idea.

    My Experience

    I am an employee of Northamptonshire Carers and before the first lockdown my day job meant I was rarely in the office. Life changed overnight. Hard not to be able to see grandchildren, son, sister, niece and her new first baby. A cancelled holiday; and an ill dog. I was the first Zoom consult our Vet had done to get vital meds.

    I found it hard to lockdown but then surprisingly found it even worse to come back out again. Fear in Morrisons when others got close. Mood swings and tiredness. Eyes became sore and painful through extra screen time and lack of fresh air. Gained weight. Drank more.

    My story is that of many people in this time and I was very lucky in comparison to some I spoke to. I, like many of our staff and volunteers here, took on making more calls to Carers during this time and supporting Bereaved Carers. We hope we helped to make a difference.

    Tips That May Help

    Be kind to yourself and take time out when you need it.  A good book; a nap; Netflix and messenger video calling to friends and family probably kept me sane.  Along with telling others how I was feeling.  I stopped watching government bulletins and every news item instead checked BBC news once a day to clarify key changes.

    Complete yours now

    Support Plan

    Try using this simple support plan to help yourself to identify how you are really feeling now and start planning some things to do to make small changes.

    Download (PDF)  Download (Word)