Recovering confidence for going back to work, winning the battle inside and conversations about Covid
Very soon, we shall be returning to some semblance of normality after Covid-19, and the ease of that transition will be different for us all. How can we make that transition smoother?
In psychological terms, during lock-down most of us will have slipped down the emotional developmental ladder from being fully functioning, independent and responsible adults, to a point (different for all of us) where we are dependent, or fearful, or rebellious, or literal. This is normal, and an inevitable part of the mental state induced by this kind of lock-down. We all of us react differently, but we all slip to a greater or lesser extent. Our speed of recovery from that slip is a measure of our emotional resilience. It might take a while for us to resist the temptation to buy more than we need – just in case – or to visit vulnerable relatives, in case we hurt those we love. It might take a while to stop feeling angry at the restrictions, or finding ways to flout the rules for small victories. It might take even longer to stop wearing masks, or turning our faces away and holding our breath when we pass people, or opening that distance in the supermarket. But these things will start to happen, and at different rates.
Something we need to bear in mind is that we have become Covid-anxious to the exclusion of anything else. We will need to regain that alertness needed in our everyday outside lives. Simple things like crossing the road for our children, not ignoring traffic lights, not cycling or walking down the middle of the road, not driving as though we don’t expect other cars to pull out of side roads. Becoming alert again to the ordinary dangers of everyday life, without adding to the residual fear.
Some will have discovered the strengths and vulnerabilities of their relationships; others will have learned to value aspects of their lives differently. Perhaps we have remembered what loneliness can really be. More than anything, we will have understood how fragile we are, how delicate the balance of life is, and this can be difficult to come to terms with. One thing is likely: life after Covid may look somewhat different, at least for a while, and we will need to manage expectations in ourselves and our families (emotional as well as financial) as confidence and general health is rebuilt.
There will be an eventual speeding-up of life as the rhythm changes from home to work and school, and it will take a little time to readapt to this. Again, it will be about managing transitions. Going forward, the more we can anticipate the changes, the less stress we and our families will have. Talking about fears, expectations and possibilities will certainly help, as will sharing and remembering any of the silver linings we may have experienced under lockdown. This will be particularly important for children, who may not have the words to describe their feelings and will need help to voice concerns.
Remember too that your own anxiety might increase or decrease at a different rate to that of your partner or other members of your family. Talking this through can help you to reach understanding and compromise, which is much better than feeling threatened or restricted.
If you need help in starting these conversations, or in managing your own re-entry, we offer online consultations for individuals, couples and families. Do call us on 07557 209158.