Psychological Strength to Prepare to Leave Lockdown
The lifestyle that awaits us in the next few days isn't going to be the same. Preparing ourselves to face the lifting of the restrictions with adequate psychological strength will allow us to cope better with possible difficulties and face them with greater mental flexibility, openness, and resilience.
Millions of people around the world are becoming aware that they’re facing a new phase in this arduous pandemic context. It’s time to prepare ourselves to leave lockdown, which many countries have already started doing.
It’s a moment we’ve all been waiting for but the hope it brings us is also mixed with inevitable uncertainty. Somehow, we all know deep down that things aren’t going to be the same for a long time.
Ernesto Sábato said in one of his books that what once was can no longer be. People and situations can never return to what they were yesterday. And, perhaps, there’s a lot of truth in that.
It’s undeniable that there will be great changes in the future. However, this doesn’t mean that what awaits us is needs to be worse than the society we once had. We’re simply facing a change that means that all of us need to prepare ourselves with new skills and approaches.
If home confinement has tested (and continues to test) our psychological resistance, then our gradual entrance into the new social reality that awaits us may also catch us off guard. Being prepared and having some resources at hand can certainly help us. Let’s analyze this below.
Strategies to prepare ourselves to leave lockdown
One thing that has helped us during this time of home confinement is to know that we’re not alone in this crisis. This has greatly comforted us in days when fear, anguish, and frustration have visited us more than usual.
We have shared these times of great hardship. It has been a truly global phenomenon and knowing that we’re not alone should be a great relief to us. And, in the same way, this new stage is also going to be a shared experience.
We must all prepare ourselves to leave lockdown. Many European countries and American states have already begun this process. In many ways, they’re making prudent changes that are giving people a bit of breathing space. They will also help the economy kick start again, with all the appropriate safety measures in place.
Some parts of the United States and several Latin American countries, such as Mexico, are still going through their hardest times. Whatever the case may be, we must all begin to work on the psychological strengths that will help us face the process of leaving lockdown in a better way. Let’s discover the keys to achieving this.
Responsibility as a tool to manage fear
The WHO still gives us one stark warning: the pandemic isn’t over yet. This means that we’ll have to live with the virus for several months until there’s a vaccine. Something like this can generate two dangerous situations.
- The first is that this (relative) return to normality will make us forget the risk. Many people want to return to their social lives and old routines. These may overlap and dilute people’s awareness of the danger that still exists. This is something that we must be aware of. Preparing ourselves to leave lockdown demands that we bear in mind that the risk of infection is still very much there.
- The second situation that can occur is fear – a constant fear of contagion. In this case, we must be aware of our personal responsibility. The only way to contain the virus and to allow the restrictions to be lifted is to be responsible and take the relevant hygiene and protection measures.
Mental flexibility and acceptance of change
Philosophers, sociologists, and psychologists are trying to predict what the world will be like after the pandemic. At the moment, we can only speculate. However, before this time arrives, we’ll have an intermediate period that will undoubtedly be far more complex.
We’re talking here about the period between the gradual lifting of the restrictions and the arrival of the vaccine. Thus, in addition to the personal responsibility we mentioned above, we must do all we can to be mentally flexible and open to change. In what way? By becoming aware of the following processes:
- Acceptance. Your former way of life won’t return in the way you’d like it to, and the changes may make life unrecognizable in some cases.
- The ability to accept and deal with negative emotions. In order to prepare yourself to face the lifting of restrictions, it’s essential for you to know how to deal with emotions such as frustration, anger, and sadness. It’s normal to feel this way but these internal emotions shouldn’t control you. You won’t be able to change mentally if you remain stuck in your frustrations.
- Adaptation. Once you become aware of the new reality, you have to realize that you’ll never be able to fight it; you simply have to adapt.
- Flexibility. In the midst of these new situations, you must be able to continue preparing projects and establishing goals. These processes demand mental flexibility, creativity, and the capacity to innovate.
Preparing yourself to leave lockdown: hope, resilience, and critical awareness
Eudald Carbonell, one of humanity’s most prestigious archaeologists, explained that the current pandemic demands a high level of critical awareness from all of us.
The process of de-escalation (the exit strategy) and the progressive advance towards the new reality that awaits us demands that we rethink many things. Both at a social and global level.
During this time, many of us have had the chance to reflect on many aspects of our lives. It’s been a time to take a close look in the mirror, get to know ourselves better, and even put ourselves to the test.
All of this should help to generate real change. Changes that will have a global impact and, hopefully, create a better society.
On the other hand, for these changes to be real, we need to achieve a suitable internal balance. Yes, it’s legitimate to feel fear and insecurity about the future. However, we can, and must, act in spite of our fear. We’ll do this by acting with hope and with a clear and resilient mentality.
The human race has a great opportunity for change ahead of it. Let’s do our part too!