Are you looking forward to the end of lockdown or experiencing ‘re-entry anxiety’?

Restrictions are starting to ease in Wales and elsewhere across the U.K. and that’s great news for many people, but some will feel afraid or nervous about leaving their own home.

During the recent lockdown we experienced over two months of only leaving home for essential reasons, such as exercise, purchasing shopping and collecting prescriptions. The changes in March and April are relatively small but many people are excited about this return to ‘freedom’.

But is returning to normality as straight forward as that? We can’t escape the constant news feeds telling us about sad losses, mortality rates, ‘R’ numbers, efficacy and risk of blood clots (or lack of risk depending what sources you read and trust). Collectively, this overload of worrying information will, for some, increase levels of anxiety and mental health problems.

It is fairly common place to hear people saying, even after vaccination, “I’m not going out”.

If you feel like this, don’t beat yourself up – you are not alone. An IPSOS Mori Survey last year found that more than 60 per cent of Britons were uncomfortable about the idea of visiting restaurants or using public transport. Seeing people not wearing masks or gathering together in larger numbers can be unsettling for many people.

Re-entry anxiety has been described as the fear of the unknown after the relative safety of being forced to stay indoors.

So what could help?

Well, the first step is to be kind to yourself, this is a real emotion and not something that you can easily switch off. Next, take it slowly and take some deep breaths to help you relax. There are lots of helpful breathing techniques available online, they help to reduce anxiety and your heart rate, whilst making you feel more relaxed. If you feel overwhelmed by the thought of (safely) getting out and about consider seeking some more support or advice. There are handy links on the Men’s Sheds Cymru Website (Wellbeing) or give Tony or Pete, your Wellbeing Advocates a call for a chat in complete confidence.

Best wishes

Tony and Pete