As much of the world is beginning to reopen following the Covid-19 pandemic, many people are looking forward to resuming regular life.
But for some, the experiences of the past 18 months are continuing to have an impact on their work and lifestyle, with Aaron Surtees, leading psychologist and celebrity hypnotherapist of City Hypnosis (cityhypnosis.com), reporting a 90 per cent surge in calls to his clinic from patients suffering from "pandemic anxiety".
"This vicious cycle keeps bringing us back to the high stress levels we were experiencing during the height of the pandemic in 2020," he said. "The pandemic has seemingly woken up previously dormant anxiety conditions or exacerbated chronic and long-standing anxiety which is having a huge impact on people post lockdown."
Concerningly, Surtees has noticed an increase in comorbidity - the presence of one or more additional conditions with a primary condition - especially in relation to people seeking help for binge drinking and anxiety or depression. Some key symptoms of pandemic anxiety can include an increased sense of doom, a sudden change in habits, physical changes, fatigue, breathing, and a general inability to relax.
To combat this, Surtees recommends following these tips.
Having the time to relax and do nothing is vital to our wellbeing.
"Everyone over the past few months has been eager to make plans and go out after over a year of restrictions and lockdowns. Tired of doing nothing but now the nothing is a vital way to unwind and relax your mind," he said.
Change your schedule
It's a good idea to talk to your boss and tell them what's going on.
"Chatting to them about ways you can improve and switch up your work routine or role. Potentially ask for some mental health days off work. Ask for different responsibilities or plan an internal move if you feel that will boost your morale and wellbeing," the expert advised.
Accept things are beyond your control
Take a note of how you are feeling on a regular basis.
"Don't do anything drastic and take each day as it comes. Prolonged stress can cause all sorts of issues that you want to avoid. Try a little meditation to de-stress using soft breathing techniques to calm your mind and body. Accept that these are still anxious, uncertain times that are beyond your control and try to visualise hope for the future by thinking positively," Surtees added.