Coming out of lockdown: Tips on coping with anxiety and kids returning to school
After 107 long days Sydney (and NSW) is coming out of lockdown. Some of us will be excited to hit the shops for a new Spring wardrobe and to sit down at our favourite cafe. Others will be a little anxious about returning to life after a lengthy lockdown and what this brings with it. Personally I really look forward to all of our freedoms returning but won’t be in a huge hurry to do all the things we’ve missed out on these past 3-4 months.
I’ve been reading some tips on how families can best return to normal life after lockdown. I’m sharing the tips I plan to use over the coming weeks as New South Wales slowly reopens. This includes a few simple ideas for easing our children back into school. I wish you all the best over the coming weeks as life returns to a new normal.
Coping with anxiety after lockdown
1. Be prepared that the end of lockdown might be as hard for us as the beginning of lockdown. It may take time to find our way back and readjust to the differences such as showing our proof of vaccination.
2. Pace yourself. Currently there is nothing on our calendar but I’m sure over the coming weeks it will be filling up with school commitments and social functions. Prioritise which events you will go to and if you are feeling anxious do only what you feel comfortable doing.
3. Our mental health routines we focus on during lockdown are equally important coming out of lockdown. Continue to focus on a healthy diet, regular exercise and self-care. Continue to do one small thing every day that makes you happy.
4. Try not to compare yourselves to what others are doing as we will all face these times differently.
5. Focus on the present and take one day at a time. Restrictions are easing slowly and case numbers will inevitably increase. Limit scrolling through COVID news and just read the facts you need to know from a reliable source.
6. Talk to people you trust. If you’re feeling very anxious or not coping please contact your GP or chat with a friend or family member.
Children returning to school after lockdown
7. Make sure your child’s school uniform fits allowing time to organise bigger sizes if needed. Check you know where the schoolbag, hat, shoes, lunchbox and drink bottle is in advance. Chances are the drink bottle has been left at a park during lockdown?!
8. Find out if a mask is needed and if so purchase a suitable mask for your child. Encourage your child to practice putting their mask on and off, if they haven’t had to wear one up until now.
9. Discuss with your child any worries they have about the virus and returning to school. Acknowledge this is a difficult time and problem solve together.
10. Focus on the positives such as seeing their friends again soon, returning to face to face learning with their teacher and getting help in the classroom. They will no longer have to put up with Mum or Dad as their (hopeless) teacher.
11. In the weeks prior gradually return to normal routines at home. This includes breakfast, recess, lunch, and dinner as well as bedtime routines. I don’t know about your family but all our routine has gone during lockdown and even getting my kids to brush their teeth has been a chore. Breakfast has been missed and unhealthy snacks have found their way into the pantry. It’s time to get back to normal school routine.
12. The night before the first day back at school involve your child with packing their schoolbag and lunchbox. Maybe organise a special treat or note in their lunchbox for the first day back.
13. Ensure additional time to get ready and out the door the first day back at school. If your child is anxious you may want to arrange for them to walk to school with a friend or meet a friend at the gate to walk in together.
14. Finally focus on lots of cuddles and fun over the next few weeks before our children go back to school when we will miss them dearly! Lol.