Managing our expectations and anxieties around resuming our lives.
For the longest time, I remember planning all the things I wanted to do once lockdown had ended, and I had my freedoms back. Many of these thoughts actually served as motivation to get through the lockdowns without struggling anymore than I needed to. In this time I had perhaps forgotten some of the anxieties and social awkwardness that I had seemingly perfected in my pre-Covid life. I think this gave me a distorted view of what the post-lockdown world would mean for me, and now that its been over a month since returning, I feel as though I’ve learnt some important lessons, that I’m sure many of you have learnt too.
First of all, I’ve learnt to try and manage my expectations, and not ‘put all my eggs in one basket’ which is hard to do sometimes, especially given that lockdown measures easing have been the one thing we’ve all had to focus on. I found that I had really high expectations for my social life leaving lockdown, and quickly realised that I wasn’t as ready as I thought to be out everyday and constantly being social?
Why? Because that’s not me. And I’ll hedge my bets that plenty of Wangie users aren’t hyper-social too. Perhaps a combination of Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO), and our rose-tinted glasses affecting our memories of social experiences before the pandemic made many of us feel as though the end of it would solve all our issues. But guess what? It doesn’t, and that’s okay. Its okay to feel anxious socially, and to want more ‘me-time’. Each individual person will have their own way of reintroducing themselves back into the big open world, especially after many of us have experienced life changing things, such as losing jobs, relationships or potentially even the lives of those close to us. All of these things are exceptionally good excuses to take it easy, when you are planning your post-lockdown adventures.
On the other side of things, FOMO is definitely going to be something you experience if you use social media, as you’re going to be seeing people doing all sorts of exciting things, and it might seem for the moment that everyone is having the time of their lives. Everyone that is, apart from you. What’s important to remember however, is that social media only reflects the moments that someone chooses to share, and that statistically, all of those socialites are going to be anxious too. Moreover, the other 23 hours of their day may just be as mundane as yours or mine, and that small moment in their life that is shared online, might be completely different to how they actually feel about it. Point is, it’s not a competition, and FOMO is something we all fall into. I would argue that a small amount of FOMO based frustration can be a good motivator for us to start to make plans and get out there, but at our own pace of course.
Secondly, I think it’s important to know how to manage any pervasive anxieties we have, and to be able to understand and accommodate the needs of others. This has been made easier by the pandemic, because if there’s one thing we’ve all learned, it’s that this has all very much been a shared experience, and that we’ve all had ups and downs along the way. If you feel anxious about meeting a friend, family member, date or anyone else, communicate with them, and see if you can figure something more comfortable out. Planning ahead can also reduce overall anxiety, as you feel less rushed and can get used to the idea of the social plans you’ve made.
Other ways to manage anxiety have also been given a larger platform over the course of the pandemic, such as meditation, breath work, ASMR, yoga and even feel-good social networks like Wangie! Putting any of these into your routine may help you to ease back into things just that little bit smoother. What’s important to know in all of this, is that you’re not alone, you’re not dysfunctional, or silly or stupid for “making a big deal” out of things that seem small to other people. You will have your own way of dealing with the transitions we’re going through, and finding it will be a process. Ive linked some articles below that should help with further advice, and help prove the point that it’s okay to be anxious, and that FOMO is something many of us are experiencing, and shouldn’t be something that deteriorates your mental wellbeing.
As always, myself and all of the Wangie family hope that the next few months are exciting for you! So experience what you want to experience! Be brave! But most of all, be considerate, of yourself and those around you. After all if there’s one thing we can learn from Wangie, it’s that you never know how the person next to you really feels deep down.
Ryan(W) | Wangie Mentor
Harper, C. (2021). Six ways to manage post-lockdown anxiety. Bupa.co.uk. Retrieved 17 May 2021, from https://www.bupa.co.uk/newsroom/ourviews/manage-post-lockdown-anxiety.
Krishkan, P. (2021). BBC - The Social - 'Post-Lockdown Anxiety': Not everyone is excited about restrictions easing. Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 17 May 2021, from https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/33qv759mMrv7RWjc3cKbKfC/post-lockdown-anxiety-not-everyone-is-excited-about-restrictions-easing.
Nafousi, R. (2021). How to emotionally prepare for lockdown lifting, if the thought of going back to normal is making you anxious. Glamour UK. Retrieved 17 May 2021, from https://www.glamourmagazine.co.uk/article/anxiety-after-lockdown.
Post lockdown anxiety survey reveals mixed picture - Anxiety UK. Anxiety UK. (2021). Retrieved 17 May 2021, from https://www.anxietyuk.org.uk/blog/post-lockdown-anxiety-survey-reveals-mixed-picture/.