Top tips for managing anxiety and integrating into the ‘new normal’

Published on: 12th August 2021

Everyone has different experiences and opinions about how ‘lockdown’ and the pandemic felt for them. Some people may have struggled with being away from their social lives and connections to others, whilst others may have welcomed the break and now fear the idea of ‘getting back out there’. Here are a few tips from our steps2change team.

Top tips for managing anxiety

Take your time

It’s important with any anxiety, to take small steps towards things that we fear. This can be hard when our fear of re-integration is met by other people’s enthusiasm. You may experience this as pressure but it is important to recognise that you set the steps on your own ladder of success. Pacing is a very helpful skill to avoid feeling overwhelmed. It is okay to say no to social invitations as long as you feel you are taking steps forwards. Perhaps you can suggest activities which make you feel more comfortable or suggest meeting in smaller groups.

Focus on what is in your control

Often when people feel worried or anxious, it can be due to the feeling of uncertainty. Uncertainty tends to be an uncomfortable feeling we get when things are out of our control. It is important to remain focused on what is in our control opposed to hypothetical (and sometimes unrealistic) concerns. For example, if you were meeting your friends at a restaurant, consider elements you can control. For example, social distancing, wearing your mask and visiting at quieter times. It can also help to consider when you have managed uncertainty before and been able to cope. You can rely on that same resilience in times of change.

Remain activated

Being activated doesn’t always mean physical exercise. Although, this does have significant positive effects on stress and anxiety. Behavioural Activation is reflecting on what you are currently doing and planning. You should have things you enjoy, things that give you a sense of achievement, and things that help you feel connected to other people. These can be any forms of activity, such as going outside or having a visit with a friend. Try the things you are able to do and build on these moving forward.

You may choose to write a list of the things you are able to do now. These can be anything from booking an appointment for the GP/dentist/hair salon you have been delaying or considering where you would like to travel to once it is safe to do so.

Maintain the gains lockdown might have given you

‘Lockdown’ may have seen you develop new hobbies or helped you slow down and focus on your routine and self-care. The temptation may be to now let those things go because other areas of life like socialising feel more important. However, having a routine is good for our mental health. Therefore, if your routines have disappeared or you have found positive ,new routines, considering them now is still important.

Access mental health services if you need help

At times, it is completely normal to feel anxious, low, sad, overwhelmed and frustrated. However, if these feelings persist and are having a negative impact, they can sometimes lead to a common mental health problem such as depression or anxiety.

If you feel that you may be experiencing a common mental health problem, it is important to seek the right help as soon as you can. steps2change offer talking therapies for mild to moderate mental health problems. The service can be accessed via your GP or online using our self-referral form.