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Experts warn of heightened anxiety as lockdown levels change

May 29, 2020

Experts warn of heightened anxiety as lockdown levels change

Mixed feeling and even anxiety are normal through the lockdown level changes, say experts. Photo: supplied

As 1.2 million New Zealanders return to increasing normality after two months' lockdown, experts say the transition hasn’t been easy for anxiety sufferers.

Some have even found the lockdown eased their anxiety.

The government closed schools and businesses as part of its Covid-19 lockdown strategy to halt the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

Auckland’s Western Springs College Counsellor Linda Bean says it’s perfectly normal to feel anxious during these unsettling times.

“We have to really look after each other, be kind, and be patient, because it’s going to be weird.”

Ms Bean says everyone has coped with the Covid-19 lockdown differently.

She says some students preferred working from home, while others have struggled to stay motivated and missed seeing friends.

Office manager and anxiety sufferer Sue Ford said she was “loving lockdown” after feeling far less anxious during the six-week isolation.

“When I watch people on TV flying overseas or dancing at a crowded concert, the first thing that pops into my head is dread.”

Anxiety is when feelings of stress or worry become overwhelming and stop us from doing what we want to be doing, says Ms Bean.

Click here to watch Mrs Ford and Ms Bean explain what anxiety feels like.

Former psychotherapist Janet Redmond says we need to create a clear distinction between anticipations about the future and what’s happening now, to help people struggling with anxiety.

“When people anticipate something in the future and have an emotional response to it, that can be paralysing.”

The Mental Health Foundation has provided wellbeing tips for Kiwis feeling uneasy due to Covid-19.

Where to get help:

Need to talk? – Free call or text 1737 any time for support from a trained counsellor.

Lifeline – 0800 543 354 (0800 LIFELINE)

Youthline – 0800 376 633, free text 234 or email talk@youthline.co.nz or online chat

Anxiety New Zealand – 0800 269 4389

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