How to Ease Post-Lockdown Anxiety for Doctors

 
24 Jul 2020

How to Ease Post-Lockdown Anxiety for Doctors

Heather-Jade Stanley

With the news reporting an imminent second wave and the existing winter pressures on the NHS approaching, you might feel apprehensive about the social distancing measured being lifted. As doctors and nurses, this feeling could be amplified in the workplace as you are required to be in close contact with both colleagues and patients.

Although it may take some time to adjust to the next phase of reality, there are some simple steps you can take to ease post-lockdown anxiety:

1. Acknowledge your feelings

According to mental health experts, anxiety around post-lockdown life is an emerging phenomenon. Sensory overload returning to social situations could induce some physiological symptoms of anxiety, especially if you struggled with mental health issues prior to lockdown. Being able to identify and acknowledge these physical and mental feelings will be the first step to feeling better.

2. Invest in your physical health

While you have been on the front lines, many people have used lockdown to cook healthy food and dust off bikes or at-home gym equipment. Be sure to prioritise time each week for your physical health. If you’re a religious gym-goer who has been unable to exercise properly due to the pandemic, now may be the time to ease your way back into moving your body with yoga or Pilates, or even getting off a stop early to walk home. Keep it simple, and don’t overwhelm yourself with big, sudden changes.

3. Use your communities and colleagues

Chances are you’re not the only person you know who’s feeling anxious. If you don’t feel comfortable discussing your concerns with your co-workers, there are groups of healthcare professionals and resources available to you online: The Coronavirus Sanity Guide, Headspace for NHS, BMJ Doctor’s Wellbeing During the Covid-19 Pandemic.

4. Be kind to yourself

It was difficult to adjust to this pandemic, so it will be difficult to adjust as the country comes out of lockdown. Don’t expect to go from 1 to 100 overnight. You’ve spent over four months trying to make yourself and others feel safe, so the country going ‘back to normal’ might not be the most appealing thing yet.  Go easy on yourself, and if you’re experiencing severe symptoms of anxiety or panic attacks, please contact a medical professional.

Useful resources

- Doctors Support Network 

Samaritans Wellbeing Support Line for Health and Social Care Workers 0800 069 6222

- Headspace free for NHS

- If you are experiencing anxiety or having suicidal thoughts, please call Samaritans on 116 123

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