For most of us, lock down was a challenge. We missed the freedom of seeing family and friends, and the simple pleasures like meeting a friend for a coffee or going out for a meal which we previously took for granted. But how many of us thought that once the restrictions were eased that we would struggle with re-entry anxiety? My husband was anxious about going back to work and re-joining the ‘rat race’, while I have suffered anxiety about how I would manage to fit everything in again. And even my daughter has been affected as she rang me in tears to tell me how she was experiencing social anxiety while sitting in a pub garden with a group of her friends.
While the first taste of freedom has been a welcome relief for many Brits, many of us are struggling with what experts are calling ‘re-entry anxiety.’
What is Re-Entry Anxiety?
Re-entry anxiety’ is fear of the changes that will happen when we are able to leave lockdown and socialise, shop and travel again,’’ explains Anxiety UK Operations Director, Dave Smithson. “This is often down to health worries, social stressors, or fear of the unknown. concerns about returning to work, children going back to school, or generally adjusting to former routines can all play a part. As we cannot see the future, we can never be certain about what exactly is going to happen next and for some, this can cause major anxiety.”
Anxiety occurs when our body’s ‘fight or flight’ response to danger or stress is continuously triggered. An ‘imbalance’ in the way that the body processes environmental and sensory stimuli leads to a disproportionate ‘excitatory’ response, and excessive release of neurotransmitters between nerve cells in the brain. In turn, this leads to overstimulation of the nervous system and high levels of adrenaline,resulting in overwhelming feelings of anxiety.
6 Ways to Cope with Re-Entry Anxiety
1. Reduce anxiety with Kalms Lavender One-A-Day Capsules
More than 15 clinical trials have shown that the pharmaceutical quality lavender oil found only in Kalms Lavender supplement is effective at reducing the psychological and physical symptoms of anxiety. Studies have shown that the effects are comparable to treatment with pharmacological medication, including SSRI’s and benzodiazepines, but without the common side-effects such as sedation or dependence.
Here at Anxiety UK, we recognise that anxiety affects people in different ways, and not all experiences or symptoms warrant taking prescribed medication,” says Dave Smithson. “As such, we welcome a range of treatment and support options, including the Kalms Lavender One-a-Day Capsules and other non-prescription options such as talking therapies.”
2. Release Negative Emotions with EFT
Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is a holistic practice developed by Gary Craig. Also known as tapping or psychological acupressure, EFT helps to release negative emotions like anxiety, by stimulating our meridian points which help to channel the body’s energy flow. Research into EFT has shown that tapping these points can help to restore balance and to allow the body’s energy to flow freely.
Intense emotions like anxiety are often alleviated after just a few rounds of EFT. It works by sending signals to the amygdala (the ‘fight or flight’ part of the brain) to relax, and as soon as these signals are sent, we immediately start to feel relief. Research has shown that EFT helps reduce the frequency of the brainwaves in the area of the brain to manage stress levels and increased the brainwaves that help relaxation. A few rounds of EFT would relieve re-entry anxiety fast! Find my full blog post here.
3. Promote Wellbeing with DIY Acupressure
When you are feeling anxious, acupressure is a very effective relaxation technique which you can practice on yourself. DIY acupressure is a technique used to release blocked energy in the body to promote wellbeing and to help relieve the symptoms of anxiety and stress. Like acupuncture, acupressure helps to stimulate the body’s energy channels, but instead of using needles, pressure is used. Try this simple technique to reduce your anxiety levels.
Find the spot between your eyebrows known as ‘The Third Eye’. Using your index finger, gently press in a circular motion up to 100 times or until you feel relief. The good thing about this technique is you can do it anywhere without anyone noticing, so if you do start to feel anxious on at the shops, on public transport or in the office, you can practice this easily. Read the full post here.
4. Get Some Inner Peace with Meditation
Mind chatter, negative thoughts, and overthinking are all part of being overstimulated. Most of us are spending too much time being stimulated by phones, laptops and other technology and when it comes to winding down, we find that literally, we can’t switch off. Meditation helps by clearing out the negative thoughts, helping us to unwind, and reminding us how to feel ‘at peace’. If we can’t calm this down, we may be more prone to stress-related illnesses and anxiety. Meditation works by reducing the activity of the sympathetic nervous system. As this activity is reduced, the parasympathetic nervous system can begin to calm the body down. If you do feel re-entry anxiety creeping in why not try some meditation.
Step by Step Meditation
- The way to a still mind is to give full attention to an object you choose for your meditation. The simplest object is your breath, where you focus on each inhalation and exhalation.
- Notice your mind wandering, bring it back to the breath. Gradually, your mind will wander less.
- Just as the mind creates distractions, so can the body – pain, and discomfort – these are all distractions to pull you out of yourself. In meditation, try not to react to these.
- Don’t label distractions as bad or good. Just be aware. Through this, we learn not to be disturbed by our thoughts.
- Take it easy. Don’t turn meditation into a chore.
- Start with a few minutes a day and do less than you think you can. If you give yourself 10 minutes, then make it 8 so you feel like doing more.
- Create a nice environment or find a special place to meditate.
- Pick an ‘easy’ time for your meditation and don’t beat yourself if you struggle. The act of focusing will eventually stop your mind from wandering. But it’s best not to get to hung up on wanting this to happen. It’s more about accepting our thoughts and not allowing our thoughts to disturb us.
- Remember to just be an observer of the mind.
- Anything we see or experience in meditation is ultimately a distraction that we want to free ourselves from. By learning not to react or be distracted by our wandering minds, freedom from our minds will gradually occur.
If you really want to get control of your mind why not look into The Silva Ultramind System with Mindvalley.
5. Get Back to Nature with Forest Bathing
With everyone spending an increasing amount of time online, our need to escape and to find ‘calm’ is greater than ever. One of the newest ways to restore mind, body and spirit is forest bathing. Forest bathing is a Japanese practice that simply involves being mindful around trees and spending time absorbed in nature. The idea behind the technique is that by observing nature and concentrating fully on the colours, sounds, and sensations of the forest (or the local park or woods) you become more aware of the present moment which helps you leave stress, anxiety, and worries behind. Read the full post here.
6. Relieve Stress with some Gentle Gardening
If you are feeling stressed or anxious about getting back into a normal routine, why not grab your gardening gloves and head out to the garden! During lockdown, there has been a real ‘buzz’ about gardening and the health and well-being benefits of simply ‘being’ in the great outdoors. Gardeners have known about the health-giving aspects of spending time in the natural world for millennia, but it has taken the COVID19 restrictions to bring us all to our senses. In our gardens, whatever size they may be, we can similarly create a sanctuary, a space of calm, safety, and contemplation. When we forget about work, slow down, and observe our natural surroundings, we are already entering a more mindful state. Our heart rate and blood pressure begin to lower and paying attention to our breathing in fresh garden air or focusing on a particular flower, shrub, or tree for just a few minutes can be remarkably grounding and restorative. Read the full post here.
If you have been suffering with re-entry anxiety and need some support maybe it’s time to see a wellness coach. Find out how a wellness coach can help you here.
If you have any tried-and-trusted natural remedies or relaxation techniques that have helped you through the lockdown, let me know! And if any of my tips work for you, I would love to hear about your experience and if you have suffered with re-entry anxiety.
|Natalie Shirlaw is a healthy living expert with 10 years of experience in the field of holistic health, wellbeing, and fitness. If you enjoyed this article be sure to pin or share it!|