It's hard to believe that most of us have lived for just over two months in lockdown now with the vast majority of the population following the guidelines to stay at home as much as possible.

We are now entering the next stage with the gradual easing of these restrictions over the coming weeks and months. Certain year groups are expected to return to primary schools, non-essential retailers are looking to commence trading and a relaxation of the one exercise per day and non-travel rules.

Whilst it is fantastic that these restrictions are being lifted the question to ask is…… are we ready?

It seems that for some of us the answer is no.

The term Coronaphobia has become increasingly popular online and in the media over the last few weeks with the view that as restrictions are being eased many have been left feeling anxious about life post lockdown.

Coronaphobia itself is being used to describe the fear of returning to normality once lockdown is relieved; a fear that some would say is completely understandable. We have all been through a huge change in our lives over the last few months whilst being constantly bombarded by news and media reports of infections and death rates.

So….. do we have a phobia about lockdown ending or is this a genuine fear that we should feel within us?  This will very much depend on you as an individual, your mindset towards certain situations and in this instance the vulnerability of you and your loved ones to the Covid-19 infection.

Fear is a normal and healthy part of life.  It plays an extremely important role in keeping us from entering harmful situations and putting ourselves at unnecessary risk.  Under normal circumstances, we can manage this fear through logic and reason.  It does not cause us to become irrational nor take over our lives.

A phobia, however, can and often will be more extreme.  It twists the normal fear response into something persistent and difficult, sometimes even impossible to control.  Generally, the levels of fear that are experienced are disproportionate to the perceived threat being both excessive and irrational.  Those that suffer from phobias often know this but are unable to do anything about their reactions and response.

Whether a phobia or fear, it is clear that as lockdown eases some will find the integration to what will become the ‘new normal’ much harder to deal with than others.

So, be patient, be kind to yourselves and if needed reach out to others for support.