Anxiety and Fear in the New Lockdown (Victoria June 2020)

ONCE AGAIN, WE ARE FACED with the boundaries of our “new normal” being curbed. The imposition of isolation or social distancing being reinforced to stem the resurging growth rate of COVID-19 in our beautiful Warrandyte and surrounding neighbourhoods, causing many people to struggle once more with their emotions in this time of uncertainty.


As the defence force moves into our neighbouring suburbs and testing stations are set up with people in full protective gear, you may feel a sense of unease, anxiety or even fear.


Just the images we see on TV is enough to spark a wave of uncertainty in our society.


You may even be overwhelmed by a sense of fear.


Now more than ever, it is really important that we, as a community, continue to look out for each other and abide by the social distancing regulations, hand washing, coughing into our shoulders and wearing masks.


It is also extremely important that we continue to keep an eye out on vulnerable members of our community, so they don’t feel alone and know that they are supported.


The re-imposition of restrictions will be hard to adhere to, since the promise of lifting all restrictions and returning to our “new normal” was so close.


Those who were feeling relieved about the possibility of getting out and about or meeting friends, may now be feeling fearful and more anxious or be experiencing an increased sense of isolation, especially those who live alone with depression, anxiety or stress.


Everyone is tired of the restrictions, but the truth is, we are far safer here in Australia than many parts of the world and it is important that we continue to adhere to the advice of medical officials and the government so that this Pandemic doesn’t get out of hand.


It is more important now than ever to reach out to those who you think might again be struggling with the reinforcement of restrictions.


Reach out to the people in our community who are on their own, offer to help with their shopping, keep checking in on them, call them and offer a VIRTUAL hug, don’t get complacent and think it’s ok to make physical contact, especially now as there are more outbreaks of this virus in and around our suburbs.


This new wave of the virus may be causing additional anxiety and fear for many of us.


As I explained in my first article for the Warrandyte diary, anxiety ranges from the sense of uneasiness to increased worry or fear, to severe panic.


Anxiety is a normal response to a “perceived threat” and this is a threat that is not going to miraculously disappear, we have to all participate in social distancing and safe behaviours to drive this virus away, or at least contain it.


In its mild forms, anxiety can simply present itself as a constant worry, leaving you feeling a little agitated, fearful of the unknown and even unable to sleep properly.


If you don’t seek help for the anxiety it can develop and be a deeper concern.


Anxiety can develop into uncharacteristic irrational behaviours; you might become completely restless, argumentative or even aggressive.


If you are experiencing any form of anxiety it is really important to reach out to someone.


A friend or member of you family could be enough to settle your fears, but if you don’t have someone you feel you can talk to about your anxiety, call a hotline or book in to see a counsellor.


There are a number of skills that you can use to alleviate anxiety.


Simple things to do at home are some deep breathing or relaxation techniques.


If you notice that you, or a member of your family or a friend, are struggling and that anxiety is increasing; that tensions are running high or developing into anger seek help early.


These are normal human emotions, but they do require some form of management so that they don’t cause a problem or develop further.


So, as we are faced with a longer period of restrictions, rather than hit out and let anxiety take hold, be thankful for the fact that we, as a community, are doing the best we can to keep the virus under control.


BE PATIENT, don’t let fear get in your way of sensible behaviour.


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