Advice on anxiety about lockdown easing


At Platinum Skies, our on-site Lifestyle Managers are there to give homeowners advice, reassurance, and anxiety care during these unprecedented times.

The lockdown has been a challenge for everyone with regular changes to the way in which we live our lives. Columnist and trained counsellor Fiona Caine offers guidance to a woman who’s nervous about social-distancing and the rules being eased.

The problem…

“I’m 69 years old and my husband is very cautious, so we were isolating before the official start of the present lockdown. I’m stuck at home now, and I know that’s the same as everyone else. It seems to be going on forever and I hate not seeing our sons – that’s the worst thing about all this. As they both live in house-shares with several others, I think it will be a long time before we can get together again with them, too.

“We’re both incredibly fit and healthy, despite being in the older age group – in fact, having lost a lot of weight, I’m probably fitter now than I’ve been for years! I want it to be over and I desperately want to go back to doing what I was doing before.

“The thing is, though, that when I think about it, I actually get quite nervous about doing so. What’s wrong with me?”

Fiona says…

“I don’t think there is anything at all wrong with you – I’m quite sure many people feel exactly the same way. We’re faced with an enemy that no one really understands – a disease that strikes indiscriminately and for which there is currently no cure. We were told that it affects older people worse than younger ones, and yet we see younger people struck down too.

“We are also faced with a never-ending stream of information and news – most of which is horrific – and even when there are announcement saying things are better, they’re still not good. We want to get together with friends and especially family but we’re naturally worried about infecting them, as well as them infecting us. There is no clear end in sight, so how can any of us feel any certainty about what to do for the best?

“Whilst it’s vital to stay informed, there’s sometimes also a lot of misinformation and so many sensationalised stories out there, that it’s easy to get down and depressed. And while it’s great to stay in contact with friends through online groups, be cautious about what they tell you too. Being swamped with news will only make your anxiety worse.

“You say you want to get back to normal, but what was normal before may not be normal for a long time to come.

I’m quite sure there will still be restrictions in place, and we’ll all have to adjust to these, so all those things you are looking forward to that you did before, you may not be doing in the same way for a good while yet.

“You are worrying, now, about how things will be in the future – but no one knows, so step back from this. There is no point in being nervous about getting back to normal until we know what we can and cannot do. As and when rules are relaxed, we can make our own judgements about how we live our lives. We don’t have to get together with crowds of people if we don’t want to – we can restrict our circle to those we know and trust. We don’t have to spend time in crowded shops – we can shop online, or consume less.

“So, rather than worrying about being nervous about what could happen in the future, think of ways in which you can, perhaps, enjoy this time now. You and your husband could come through this closer than ever, especially if you take the time to care about each other. You could enjoy the peace from the lessened transport, the opportunity to learn a new skill or take up a new hobby. Don’t expect too much of yourself though – just take the time to breathe deeply and, as far as you can, relax. We will get through this – and out the other side.”

If you have a problem you need help with, email Fiona by writing to [email protected] for advice. All letters are treated in complete confidence and, to protect this privacy, Fiona is unable to pass on your messages to other readers. Fiona regrets that she cannot enter into personal correspondence.