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Over the last year, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused almost everyone’s lives to change in significant ways. For a large portion of 2020, most Canadians were in some type of “lockdown”. For some, that meant not leaving home at all. For others, it meant only leaving to get the bare necessities.

Many people started working remotely. Kids began “virtual learning,” and restaurants across the country offered carry-out and delivery options, rather than allowing customers to dine in.

Now, restrictions have eased. Thanks to the vaccine rollout, some things are starting to feel more normal. But, with the Delta variant on the rise and fewer people getting vaccinated, there have been talks of another potential lockdown.

The pandemic created a variety of mental health issues that we haven’t even scratched the surface of yet. If you’ve been struggling with anxiety throughout the last year and a half, you’re not alone. But the idea of another lockdown might feel overwhelming.

So, how can you cope with that fear?

Take Personal Precautions

The best thing you can do to manage your fear is to take care of yourself. You don’t have to stop living your life due to the “what ifs”. If a lockdown occurs, there will be guidelines in place to follow.

Until then, keep yourself safe to ease your worries. If it helps you to stay home, wear a mask, or avoid busy places, there is no shame in that. Everyone is still trying to get used to this “new normal”, and it’s important to go at your own pace.

Be Mindful of the Moment

Mindfulness has seen a huge rise in popularity throughout the pandemic. But it isn’t a “trend” or some “buzz word”. It’s an incredibly effective tool for managing stress and anxiety.

One of the great things about mindfulness is that it forces you to focus on the present. Thoughts will still come, but you won’t hang onto them. Instead, you will focus on your breathing, how your body feels, and what is surrounding you at that specific moment. Practicing mindfulness for even a few minutes each day can positively impact your stress and make it easier to manage your anxiety.

Many people get mindfulness, and meditation confused. They’re not the same, but you can use meditation practices within mindfulness to get even more out of it. Simply breathing deeply a few times can help ease you into a more relaxed state. Be conscious and intentional with this breathing – as you breathe in focus on your breath and letting go of the tension in your body. It is surprising to many people how effective something so simple can be.

Talk to Someone About Your Feelings

Even though everyone’s experiences are different, we’re still all in this together. The pandemic has shaped everyone in some way. With that being said, not everyone is in the same place with their mental health.

Some people are eager to get back to normal as quickly as possible. Others have embraced a “new normal”. Some are remaining cautious, and others have given in to fear over the idea of another lockdown.

If you’re feeling anxious and not sure how to cope, you don’t have to do it on your own. Talk to family members or friends about what you’re feeling. You’ll quickly find that others in your circle might have similar struggles.

Alternatively, you may find it helpful to speak to a therapist. Together, you can work on healthy ways to cope with your fear. Whether another lockdown happens or not, there’s no denying that things are different in this post-pandemic society. Learning how to manage your anxiety can benefit you now and help you face whatever might happen in the future.