Life After Lockdown - Readjusting to the 'New Normal'
Have extended periods of restrictions, social distancing and lockdowns programmed so much of your life that the reality of re-entering into society has you feeling more than a little anxious or overwhelmed?
So much of the past few years has been out of our control so it can help to focus on the things that are within your control. If you're feeling daunted at the prospect of returning to ‘normal’ life, try our suggestions below to help ease the transition.
Revisit your routines
Try to re-establish routines where you can to help create predictability (a notable absence from the past 1.5 years) and reduce stress, which in turn can give your brain more energy to concentrate on other tasks. Simple things can make a big difference, like emulating your usual commute by talking a walk before or after work even if you’re still working from home or going to bed and waking up at the same time each day.
Go at your own pace
If you're anxious about re-entering the world, try not to avoid social situations entirely, which can only make it harder to start facing our fears in the longer term. Instead, set small but manageable targets with activities that feel achievable and are important to you– like meeting a close friend for coffee – and gradually build up from there.
Even if you’re tempted to make lots of plans and say yes to everything once things have opened up, there's no need to rush. Balance this with time to relax and avoid overdoing it.
Focus on immune support
Understandably, some apprehension might be due to worries about getting sick. Substantial evidence suggests that the ability of the immune system to respond to invading pathogens is significantly influenced by lifestyle factors such as leading a sedentary lifestyle, stress, and nutritional status - all of which have been impacted for most of us recently. Focus on supporting immunity by enjoying foods such as citrus fruits, strawberries or broccoli for a boost of vitamin C. Bump up your vitamin D intake by consuming salmon, eggs or beef. Zinc is also a powerful antioxidant, essential for healthy immune function and can be found in food sources like red meat, shellfish or pumpkin seeds. Limiting sugar and processed foods and improving nutrition may also help offset those dietary transgressions made during lockdown induced bouts of baking or boredom snacking.
Take care of your mental health
Undoubtedly one of the main impacts of this pandemic has been the negative effect on our mental wellbeing. Factors such as dealing with ongoing uncertainty, the stress of balancing home-schooling and work, job losses, physical and social isolation, to name just a few have impacted many, resulting in sleep issues, depression, stress and anxiety. As restrictions lift and freedoms increase this may also bring up feelings of stress and anxiety. Be sure to take time for yourself, exercise, spend time in nature, practice gratitude, mindfulness or meditation - any activity helps you keep balanced and calm. If you need additional support herbs like lemon balm, lavender or skull cap can also help calm the nervous system. Reach out to your healthcare professional who can offer support and guidance on the best approach for you.
Prioritise your physical health
Your overall health may have taken a back seat over the past 18 months and restrictions to non-essential medical services may have made it difficult to visit your health practitioners. Now is the perfect time to reprioritise your health and arrange those important dental check-ups, skin cancer checks or optometrist appointments.
Also, call your natural health care practitioner for a consultation to revisit any treatments you may already be on or if you need additional support adjusting to life after lockdown.