At this stage of the pandemic, as we approach a so-called 'return to normal' in the UK, many are wondering exactly what 'normal' is going to look like. Some can't wait to return to the playground. Some remain wary, concerned about the possibility of another spike, like the increase that followed last Christmas and the devastation seen elsewhere.
And there is another concern, not so readily shared: that for some of us, lockdown restrictions have offered some respite; a great escape from the hurried pace of the world.
Pre-lockdown not everyone was enamoured with their schedules and routines.
Undeniably the move in and out of lockdown in response to Covid-19, over the past year, has challenged the mental health of many. But, pre-lockdown, not everyone was enamoured with their schedules and routines.
If you were struggling to achieve a work-life balance, lockdown blew that all away. After a period of adjustment, some have recognised a preference for a slower pace. Now, faced with a 'return to normal', they are dreading a return to a lifestyle that had previously left them feeling challenged and depleted.
This is a fear that is not easy to voice - not in the face of the loss and devastation caused by the pandemic. You may feel guilty for wanting what has been brought about by necessity and you may fear being judged for this.
You may feel guilty for wanting what has been brought about by necessity.You may fear being judged for this.
You may feel fortunate to have an income, a job where you do not feel at risk, micro-managed and under pressure to increase your output. Perhaps you switched to working from home and have discovered that you are comfortable working this way. You may be on reduced hours or have been furloughed and have found that you have been able to use your available time in a fulfilling way.
It may be worth taking some time to evaluate where you are now, what works for you and whether this can continue. And if fear of judgement and feelings of guilt are causing anxiety, it's worth seeking support.
If you think therapy may help, you can consult your GP or self-refer through the NHS online. Your employer may offer an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP). If you are a student, you can approach Student Welfare Services. There are charities offering free and low-fee counselling services.
If you wish to seek the help of a registered private therapist, you can search the therapist directories offered by counselling bodies and networks, such as BACP and BAATN.
You may find the following links useful: