how to deal with fear and anxiety

How to deal with fear and anxiety in life after the lockdown

Making a transition from the confined, predictable today to the chaotic, unpredictable tomorrow will not be an easy one.

I have always preferred to be indoors. Social interactions, travelling to new places are not things I have really cared for much. I am happy at home, I enjoy my solitude and let my imagination wander. Pondering over life’s mysteries is more my thing. By now, you must have figured out I am not outdoorsy.

Even for me, however, the lockdown has not been easy to adjust to. Certainly wasn’t during the initial days. It took me a while to make my peace with the ‘new normal’, as it did for everyone, I guess. Days turned into weeks, and I began to feel…calm. It might sound strange to most, but to me, it was as if my whirring mind—crippled with the stress and anxiety from the onset of the pandemic—suddenly came to a peaceful halt. Just like life outside came to a standstill.

Until a couple of months ago, our lives were whizzing past us, nary a moment of peace and quiet. The global lockdown came upon the world like a gush of wind, confining our lives within the walls of our homes.

While this unprecedented turn of events baffled us as we tried to make some sense of it, our minds began to quiet down. There was a shift—a general sense of appreciation started towering above the stress and worry on account of the Coronavirus. Collectively, we began to acknowledge the need for this ‘pause’. A revival of sorts started taking place, and it’s still going on. And as you read this piece today, the peace and calm have become addictive. And how! It’s scary to imagine life after the lockdown.

On one hand, we have the lockdown where there is less conflict outside our homes, no consequential responsibilities to deal with, the air is clean, and the animals in captivity are free. On the other hand, when the lockdown will be lifted, we would have ‘life’ waiting for us, life rife with chaos and commotion. Needless to say, the transition from the confined, predictable today to the unpredictable tomorrow will not be an easy one – from our peaceful abodes to the chaotic, loud daily rush.

“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less,” are the famous words of the world-renowned physicist Marie Curie.

There is bound to be anxiety, fear of the uncertain life that would await us, the new ‘new normal’ on the other side. We don’t know if we can assume everything will be back to normal just like before. All we know is that the acts of life will be divided into two—before and after the pandemic. So, how does this newfound fear manifest, and how do we deal with it?

PTSD and paranoia

Events like a pandemic can leave us traumatised, adults and children alike. Once the lockdown is over and the pandemic is contained, we’d most likely need to deal with a mass PTSD while trying to meander through a new world.

The fear and paranoia associated with the spread of a pandemic are natural. The current fear that prevails is the relapse of the Coronavirus cases if the lockdown is lifted prematurely. No one is sure how soon is too soon and any lapse in judgement could prove catastrophic for millions. With this uncertainty, fear is only surging to new heights.

Various studies have shown that if people are unfamiliar with a disease or an outbreak, their fear of not returning to normalcy only increases. What the world needs right now is a certainty. To know the risks, the likelihood, and the solutions. To get there, we need to practice patience—it is the only way to wade through our fears and worst nightmares.

Social discriminations

A virus attacks indiscriminately. But pandemics over the ages have become the cause of social discriminations, leaving a lasting impact on people’s psyche. The Church considered the Black Death that killed around 100 million people in the 14th century a conspiracy of the Jews. The typhoid fever of the 19th century was said to originate because of the poor population. Anyone who suffered from leprosy was deemed a sinner. While it’s common to see support and compassion extended towards neighbours and strangers alike during the coronavirus pandemic, the COVID-19 virus has also divided people. Calling it the ‘Chinese Virus’; landlords have been throwing out tenants because of mongoloid features is an embarrassing example. But if you look closely, it’s nothing but fear casting its spell.

“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less,” are the famous words of the world-renowned physicist Marie Curie. When you understand the reasons behind your apprehensions, you conquer fear. And that’s what we have to do—understand why we are at this juncture; that it’s not about pinning blame but about taking collective and individual responsibility; and most importantly, we are in this together and we will rise above it, also together.

Economic fallout

The global economy has dropped dramatically due to the pandemic, setting itself up for a global recession and layovers. The current situation has increased unemployment five times more than the global recession of 2008. Governments fear if the situation continues, the economy will crash to its lowest point.

The fear of losing a job or shutting up shop is real and understandable. However, we are capable of fighting the good fight, and history is witness to the power of solidarity. Everyone in the world is experiencing this pandemic in one way or the other. We understand each other’s pain and worry. And this is what unites us. Our strength lies in each other, and the more compassionate we are, the more fearless and stronger we become as a society. Yes, the future looks bleak, but it doesn’t matter. What matters is now—how we act in the present.

If we can take care of today, tomorrow will follow suit.


How can I cope with the fear and anxiety of transitioning from the lockdown to the post-lockdown life?

Gradually expose yourself to new situations, practice self-care, maintain a routine, limit media consumption, and seek support if needed.

What can I do to manage PTSD and paranoia associated with the pandemic and the fear of relapse after the lockdown?

Engage in stress-reducing activities, seek therapy or counselling, stay connected with loved ones, and focus on accurate information to alleviate fears.

How can I address social discriminations and prejudices that may arise as a result of the pandemic?

Challenge stereotypes, engage in open-minded conversations, stand up against discrimination, and promote inclusivity to overcome fear.


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