The New Social Anxiety
With governments lifting lockdown measures and life seeming returning to a ‘new’ normal, public opinion is growing increasingly divided. For some, restriction-lifting is happening too fast; for others, it can’t come soon enough. In fact, King’s College London has found that there are three distinct groups when it comes forming opinions about the lockdown and with each of these groups there is a range of anxieties that you may be feeling about the lifting of lockdown.
So, which group do you belong to, and what is your new social anxiety?
What’s Your Lockdown Lifting Social Group?
Group One: The Goody Two Shoes
King’s College London defines this social group as the ‘Accepting’. The people who fall into this category as the ones that are following the rules to the letter. They acknowledge that there is nothing else they can do, so they sit tight and follow advice.
48% of the population falls into this group, and within this group, just 12% are losing sleep over the pandemic. 91% of the group support the lockdown measures, with 87% of these people following lockdown rules completely.
Interestingly, just 28% say they are likely to face financial difficulties because of the virus, which may be why this group is so willing to follow the rules and are in no hurry to move things along.
In terms of the government response, 73% of this group trust the information provided, and 60% say that the government’s plan was effective.
In this group, 59% of people surveyed are male and 41% female.
The New Social Anxiety – Post-Lockdown Anxiety
While this group is the most likely to accept lockdown and follow the rules without concern, a large proportion of this group believes measures are being lifted too soon. Furthermore, the fact that this group has been relatively comfortable with lockdown means that adjusting to going back to work, socialising and ‘returning to normal’ may be a big concern.
Those who are comfortable at home may now find it harder to maintain friendships and may become overwhelmed by venturing outside more frequently.
This group may also be so focused on doing the right thing, that they fail to recognise how they are actually feeling about the issue and addressing any anxieties they may have.
Top Tips For Post-Lockdown Anxiety
- Set small, actionable goals each week – don’t attempt to do everything at once.
- Ask for flexible working or to be able to split work between the office and working from home.
- Recognise your feelings through journaling and mindfulness.
Group Two: The Wellbeing Worriers
44% of the population fall into this category, described by the study as the ‘Suffering’. People in this group have noticed heightened anxiety during lockdown. The pandemic has made 64% of this group lose sleep, and 34% of the group say they worry about Coronavirus all the time.
Two-thirds of these Wellbeing Worriers check social media frequently for updates, and 93% say they follow the rules all of the time; the same proportion also supports the lockdown measures in place.
In this group, 70% of people think the government has acted too slowly, and 47% say that the advice has been confusing and inconsistent.
64% of this group are women.
The New Social Anxiety: Health Anxiety
93% of this group say they are more anxious and depressed than usual, but just 22% say that they are finding lockdown measures extremely difficult. This could suggest that many people in this group have anxiety regarding health and wellness, especially as most people in this group have the highest level of compliance with 99% of people staying at least 2-metres apart when outside.
Those who feel like they always worry about their health and spend large amounts of time looking for health information on social media and the internet as well as frequently self-diagnosing may be suffering from health anxiety.
Top Tips For Health Anxiety
- Challenge your thoughts – answering each worry with a more balanced argument. For example, if you are worried about headaches, the counterargument would be ‘headaches are a sign of stress and can occur from worrying too much’.
- Create a routine that follows health advice but allows you to feel a sense of normality, such as going out for a walk or visiting a shop.
- Consider hypnosis, mindfulness or meditation to take control over your thoughts.
Group Three: The Freedom Fighters
Just 8% of the population fits into this category, known in the study as the ‘Resisting’. 58% of people in this group believe that too much fuss is being made about the risk. Furthermore, 65% say they expect to suffer significant financial impact because of the lockdown. This group is much less likely to follow official guidance but is more likely to adopt remedies and practices that have not been officially recommended.
This group are most likely to meet up with people outside of the home, a proportion that is ten times higher than other groups. Furthermore, 35% say they have gone outside or gone to work, despite having potential symptoms.
46% of this group are aged between 16-24 years old, and 64% of the group are men.
The New Social Anxiety: Financial And Career Anxiety
This group has found lockdown hard, with the worries around money and work being a significant concern from many people in this group. As a result, this group is more likely to engage in unhealthy activities such as drinking more to cope with the stress. 44% have used non-prescription drugs to help with their anxiety.
In this group, 51% of people say they have argued more with the people they live with, so much so that 35% have contacted counselling services.
Top Tips For Financial Anxiety
- Avoid alcohol and swap alcohol with healthy treats – Release those feel-good endorphins through exercise and avoid your usual alcohol triggers.
- Stick to a routine that focuses on quality sleep, healthy eating and managing your wellbeing.
- Face your financial situation head-on to understand your circumstances and receive mental health support or debt advice if needed.
Let’s Address These Anxieties Head On
If you are feeling more anxious at the moment, you are not alone. For the average person, anxiety levels have risen by 50%. Furthermore, the average person spends 88 minutes each day worrying about their concerns. If lifting lockdown has led you to feel more anxious or stressed, then I can help with my blended method of therapy that includes hypnotherapy, NLP, mindfulness and coaching.
My Harley Street practice is open from the 18th June 2020 for in-person therapy, but I will also continue to offer virtual treatment through video calls if you prefer. To find out more about how I can help with the specific anxieties you are facing, get in touch to book your first free consultation.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to book your free consultation now.