How to ease post-lockdown anxiety for vets
Life-at-a-distance had just begun to feel routine. But just as quickly as the lockdown restrictions were implemented, they are beginning to lift. But after weeks and weeks of maintaining social distance – you may notice you’re not as comfortable in stepping out of the house as you once were. For vet professionals, this feeling could be amplified in the workplace as you are required to be in close contact with both colleagues and pet owners. This could be particularly true for those coming back from furlough, and working within the new reduced-contact regulations for the first time.
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
Many people have used lockdown to cook healthy food and dust-off bikes and at-home gym equipment. Be sure to prioritise these habits. If you’re a religious gym bunny who needed a break from your regiment during lockdown, now may be the time to ease your way back into moving your body with yoga or Pilates but keep it simple. Don’t overwhelm yourself with big, sudden changes.
3. Use your communities and colleagues
Chances are you’re not the only person you know that’s feeling ill-at-ease. If you don’t feel comfortable discussing your concerns with your practice colleagues, there are pockets of vet professionals talking and problem-solving challenges of post-lockdown life on community Facebook hubs such as Vets: Stay, Go, Diversify, Vet Mums, Veterinary Voice of Vet Spoonies. The BVA are also posting advice and guidelines for specifically for veterinary professionals.
4. Be kind to yourself
It was difficult to adjust to lockdown, so it will be difficult to adjust out of lockdown. Don’t expect to feel back to go from 1 to 100 overnight. You’ve spent over two months trying to make yourself feel safe, and feel secure in your home so leaving your cocoon mightn’t be appealing yet. So, don’t got out, return to social situations or face to face practice if you’re not ready! Go easy on yourself, and if you are experiencing severe symptoms of anxiety or panic attack, please contact a medical professional.