How can you deal with anxiety as society reopens?
With restrictions in Ireland generally lifted, most people in the country have been rejoicing. However, not everyone feels that way and one Newstalk listener told The Anton Savage Show she felt that, “Everyone is entitled to rejoice but some of us just can’t flick that switch and return back to what used to be normal. I plead with people to be patient with those of us who are still very scared.”
Dr Malie Coyne, a clinical psychologist, said that such a reaction is perfectly normal considering the huge stresses of the past few years:
“Just because the restrictions have lifted, doesn’t mean that you overnight have to go back to the way you lived pre-pandemic. We all have to acknowledge that we’ve been through a really hard time,” Dr Coyne said.
“Some people more than others over the last two years and we’ve all developed patterns of living in order to give ourselves a sense of safety, security whilst we were encountering a world that felt very unsafe.
“And for human beings that’s really difficult.”
Listen and subscribe to The Anton Savage Show on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.
Around 15% of people are thought to have a more anxious disposition and Dr Coyne says there are a few simple techniques can help people feel calmer about the world:
“I think it’s important for you to identify, ‘Is this a problem I can do something about?’ And if it is a problem you can do something about, you can work out what you maybe could do. List your options, ‘Is there anything I can do right now about this worry?’
“But if it’s not something you can do something about, I suppose let the worry go and focus on something else.”
Dr Coyne continued:
“Our routines may have to change in the next few weeks, so how can we change them maybe in a slight, gradual way and to think about the basics of sleep, exercise, diet, screen time - maybe not overexposing yourself to the news if that’s making you anxious - and just becoming aware of how you’re feeling inside.
“And giving yourself some kindness about how you’re feeling inside because it’s okay… And I think if you’re struggling, talk to someone about that.
“Talk to a friend, talk to a family member, talk to your employer if you’re uncomfortable about going straight back into work [and] sitting right next to someone.
“These are natural feelings to have.”