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Post-Lockdown Anxiety: Coping Strategies

Stefanie Schornsheim 0

Germany just lifted many restrictions. This is a relief and brings joy to some people, but it’s a nightmare to others. Suddenly you have to go back to the office and commute via public transport? This can lead to some sort of post-lockdown anxiety.

Home is usually associated with safety and control. Going back to public life can feel scary. Especially when the pandemic situation does not feel solved and there is still uncertainty about how our lives will still be impacted.


I have been working from home for two years, and to me, it felt amazing. I saved two hours of commuting every day and got into healthier habits like cooking lunch instead of going out for something cheap and fast or started exercising three times a week. I was more productive at work because I didn’t have any distractions at home, and it was way easier to detach after work.

When I think about going back to the office, I feel anxious. Numbers are still not going down, and the hospitals still work on their limits. In Berlin, there are no restrictions to huge events. And all the people who attend these (you know, Germans and their love for soccer plus the large party scene in Berlin) will commute with me on the train.

A survey in the UK revealed people have mixed feelings about going back to the office: 36 percent would be quite happy to stay at home and 23 percent are anxious about using public transport. See, we’re not alone with those feelings.

I am not just worried that I’d get the infection (I guess we all will get it at some point). I’m concerned I could be the one spreading it to my colleagues. How can I live with that? And how can I work concentrated when always thinking about that?

In Germany, it depends on the employer if they continue to allow you to work from home. Many will offer more flexibility, but this might not mean you can stay home full-time. So if you don’t want to quit, you need to find a way to deal with post-lockdown anxiety. Here are my coping strategies ⬇️

Coping strategies for Post-Lockdown Anxiety

1 Step by step

It’s essential to listen to your body. Don’t rush everything. Take small steps. Talk to your employer if they are open slowly getting back to the office. Maybe start with one day a week and increase gradually. And just because clubs, restaurants, soccer stadiums are open again and all your friends are going – you don’t have to rush things. Compare yourself only to yourself.

Don’t avoid everything because this could lead to more significant anxiety down the road, but choose what you’re capable of right now. Set boundaries and stick to your own pace.

2 Talk about your feelings

When meeting friends or going back to the office, you need to feel safe. To achieve that, it’s best to open up and talk about your concerns. For example, if you’re living together with someone in the risk group, let your employer know. Maybe you don’t have to get back to the office right away.

Same with friends: Make sure you’re on the same page, so everyone feels comfortable meeting up. Maybe meeting at someone’s house is more comfortable than visiting a crowded restaurant or bar for now.

feel the fear and do it anyway

3 Schedule time to recover

It can be challenging and overwhelming when you have to go out suddenly. Like I said before: Don’t avoid it altogether but stick to your own pace. This can also mean going out one day and staying in the next just to relax or recover from stress. Listen to your body, and don’t go with the pressure to do everything at once. Step by step. One at a time.

4 Do writing meditation

Write down your feelings every day. This comes with many benefits, like reducing stress and anxiety. It will also support you in challenging unhelpful thoughts and focussing on the present. This is especially great if you constantly think about „what if“ worst-case scenarios.

5 Only inform yourself from trustworthy sources

There is so much fake news available online. Don’t immediately trust everything you read. Look at official sources and stick to the facts. Don’t get lost in conspiracy theories that cannot provide evidence and only trigger more anxiety.

Overcome post-lockdown anxiety

All in all, it’s best to expect a readjustment phase. There might be additional distress, but it’s temporary. That’s why it’s essential to stay in the moment and not get lost in anxious thoughts that spiral around everything that could happen when going out again. To start, choose to meet your supportive friends who think alike and engage in fun activities. Step by step.

Write down everything you feel and experience. Be honest, get the negativity out of your head, focus on the positive aspects, and stick to your own pace when getting back into public life.

Let me know in the comments how life after lockdown feels for you and how you’re dealing with it.


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