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Post-Lockdown Anxiety Busters

Is the thought of the return to “normal” putting you on edge? The following tips might help.

As lockdown rules change over most of the UK, it can seem at times as if everyone has been stepping – if not leaping – back into society. But if you’re feeling trepidation at the hugs, gatherings and general easing of measures, you’re not alone.

Many people are experiencing “post-lockdown anxiety”. Sometimes these feelings of anxiety that arise when being confronted with new social situations after a year of mandatory social distancing can feel even more isolating than living in lockdown.

If you find yourself anxious when out and about, here are a few easy tricks that can help to restore your balance.

Reconnect With Your Body

Often when you’re feeling anxious, your brain goes into overdrive, with negative thoughts adding fuel to the fire. When this happens, it can be incredibly difficult to get yourself back to an even keel. The following exercise is often recommended to help people take control over acute anxiety attacks, but it’s just as helpful when you’re feeling a little out of sorts.

Stop what you’re doing and count 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Name,

• five things you can see,
• four things you can feel,
• three things you can hear,
• two things you can smell,
• one thing you can taste.

Although it may seem simple, doing this activity can actually break the anxiety cycle and help to ground you, putting you back into your body when you’re stuck in your head. When you’re feeling disconnected from your surroundings, panicked, or feel your mind start racing, this trick may just be the thing that offers you some relief.

Practices such as Yoga can also help you to reconnect with your body and mindful breathing as well as helping with improved flexibility and balance.

Harness The Power Of Scent

Not only can your sense of smell help reconnect your brain with your body, but certain scents, such as linalool, trigger the area of your brain that relieves anxiety. Linalool is a sweet-smelling alcohol that occurs naturally in both lavender and rose, making them two of the most popular scents to ease stress. That being said, there are many other fragrances that are also used for their relaxation properties that don’t contain linalool, including chamomile and bergamot.

One of the easiest ways to use scent to de-stress when you’re out and about is to carry a small bottle of essential oil in your bag, so you can simply inhale the scent as needed. Or, if that option doesn’t work for you, try a scented hand cream to enjoy the same effect but over a more extended period.

Pressure Points

If you haven’t tried acupressure before, there’s no better time to start. An ancient Chinese practice, acupressure, is similar to acupuncture but without the need to use needles. Instead, you simply press on specific points of your body, focusing on those said to help relieve anxiety.

Two of the easiest areas to focus on (without having to get your feet out in the office) are listed below. When you’ve located the point in question, massage it gently in a circular motion with your index finger for the specified time.

The Heavenly Gate Point is located at the top of the triangular hollow in the upper part of your ear. Massage for two minutes.

The Hall Of Impression Point lies at the central point between your eyebrows. Massage firmly for 5-10 minutes.

Most of all, go easy on yourself over the coming weeks. Treat yourself with the same compassion and empathy as you would your closest friends – it will get easier.

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