Mandi Simons Counselling & Psychotherapy Practice Counselling in Hampstead and Highgate, North West London

How to Deal With Post-Lockdown Anxiety

Since March 2020, we have become used to staying at home, not seeing people, and not
visiting public spaces like pubs or nightclubs. Now, however, with all lockdown restrictions to
be lifted this month, there is suddenly a widespread expectation for everyone to ‘get back
into the world’. For many people, this idea can produce feelings of anxiety. As a busy therapy practice
providing counselling in Hampstead, Highgate and online, many of our clients have come to
us with fears about making this quick transition from isolation to being surrounded by other
people.
You might need some support making this adjustment, so here are a few things to keep in
mind if you are experiencing post-lockdown anxiety.
Take Your Time
With lockdown lifting, there is a pressure to immediately return to nightclubs, restaurants,
bars, and other places where large groups gather, causing feelings of health anxiety or
social anxiety. Perhaps you feel obligated to immediately throw yourself back into the deep
end. Your friends may be pressuring you to do exactly that.
Recognising these external pressures and refusing to let your behaviour be dictated by them
is an effective way of keeping your post-lockdown anxiety under control. Getting caught up in
the rush will only make things worse. The transition back to ‘normal life’ is set to be a long
one, so there is no good reason to do it all at once. If you don’t feel comfortable enough to
visit a nightclub, for instance, always remember that they aren’t going anywhere. Visit them
when the time feels right; not when somebody tells you to.
Mindfulness
At a time like this, it is common to be swept up by the emotions and anxieties of others, which
contributes to post-lockdown anxiety. Creating a mental routine, whereby you remain
conscious of your thoughts in the present moment, helps you to manage these feelings better.

Our team of experienced, qualified counsellors in Hampstead, Highgate and online work with
you to promote mindfulness - a crucial aspect of handling post-lockdown anxiety, as it helps
you to reduce your worries about the future and to stay in the present,
with greater understanding of - and compassion towards - any intrusive or negative thoughts.
Working towards greater mindfulness in this way will naturally reduce your levels of post lockdown anxiety.

Seek Support
You might feel like you are all alone; that you are the only one going through post-lockdown
anxiety. Opening up to others about challenging emotions can be extremely difficult.
However, you will be surprised at how many friends or family members may be experiencing
the same feelings of post-lockdown anxiety as you. Reaching out to people and hearing
them express the same anxious thoughts experienced by yourself will help ease the burden and
make you feel less alone.
If you want to talk through your post-lockdown anxiety with a professional counsellor in
Hampstead, Highgate or online, get in touch with our team of counsellors. We combine a
number of different counselling approaches to help you work through challenges in your
work, personal relationships, and any other anxieties you have as we move towards a post-pandemic world.


The Importance of Workplace Counselling as an Alternative to an EAP

With more people returning to the office after over a year of working from home, employers are prioritising looking after their workforce’s mental health. Many people will have anxieties about returning to the workplace after so long away. It may be that some employees have issues with bereavement, conflicts with other employees, health, caregiving issues, or depression.
As a result, it is important to offer workplace counselling that is personalised to the specific needs of each individual employee. Every mental health issue is unique, which is why we offer bespoke workplace counselling as an alternative to conventional EAP - a service usually provided on a large scale and, as a result, unsuitable for offering individualised counselling solutions that many employees so desperately need.
Here are the three main reasons why you should consider providing personalised workplace counselling to your employees.
Employees Need More Flexibility
Following almost 18 months of remote working, many people are no longer comfortable with the rigid structure of the office. The process of commuting every day and sharing a space with other people five days a week may have been the norm pre-March 2020, but there is now a requirement for employers to accommodate for differing needs and situations. Our workplace counselling service aims to ensure that all members of the workforce are granted the flexibility they need to feel comfortable during their working week.
Personalised Support
One key benefit of using our workplace counselling service, as opposed to a large EAP company, is that your employees will receive a tailored form of support. While a major EAP provider will roll out a broad programme that addresses several issues, our service can be adapted specifically to each individual.
If an employee needs help with bereavement issues, for example, we will make sure they are directed towards the right kind of specialist help. Companies can ask my practice to work with their employees on a specific area - mindfulness, conflict in the workplace, etc. - and I will prepare a personalised package that meets their exact requirements, whatever they may be.
Improve Workplace Mood and Productivity
Employees will struggle to concentrate at work if they are going through personal problems, and may even call in sick more frequently as a result. Having a dedicated support system in place, where employees have somewhere to get the right kind of help, has the effect of reducing absences and improving productivity. It also means departures are less likely, as having a friendly, positive workplace culture plays a big part in employees staying at a company. They will be much more likely to work to the best of their ability if their employers demonstrate a genuine concern in their wellbeing.
If you are an employer looking for an effective, personalised workplace counselling service as opposed to a larger EAP service, get in touch with Mandi Simons Counselling and Psychotherapy Practice to arrange an initial consultation.


What is the Difference Between Counselling and Psychotherapy?

If you are seeking therapy for the first time, you might be wondering whether you are better suited to counselling or psychotherapy. Our team of experienced practitioners are qualified to offer both kinds of professional help to suit a wide range of different situations for people of all ages. To help you decide which form of therapy is best for you, this blog post gives you a clear explanation of what each one offers.
Counselling
Counselling focuses on dealing with the issues you are facing in the present moment. You might have a specific crisis you are going through and need a place to talk freely about the issue at hand. In this instance, short-term, CBT-based counselling can be very beneficial, as your therapist will work with you to create actionable solutions and healthier ways of thinking about the problem, which in turn reduces the negative role it plays in your life.
To do this, your therapist may also incorporate mindfulness into your work together. This will involve increasing your awareness of the thoughts, feelings and behaviours that happen automatically and contribute to poor mental health. Your therapist will help you to notice and identify these feelings and ultimately process them in a more compassionate, healthier way.
Psychotherapy
While counselling deals with issues affecting you in the here and now, psychotherapy explores your life in a deeper way. It is a longer-term treatment that is generally better suited to more complex mental health conditions that have existed for a prolonged period of time. The aim is to improve your awareness of where certain emotions/behaviour come from and how they influence the way you think, feel and behave in the present.
Once again, we may use mindfulness as a way of helping you turn towards uncomfortable past experiences and how they make you feel in the moment. Allowing yourself to become truly aware of past events and the role they play in the present is a crucial part of psychotherapy. Having this level of understanding makes it much easier to prevent certain emotions and/or behaviours from continuing to negatively affect your life in the same way as before.
If you are still unsure about whether you require counselling or psychotherapy in Hampstead or online, feel free to get in touch with us to arrange a free, no-obligation 30-minute consultation.


How Can Exercise Improve Your Mental Health?


If you are experiencing depression or anxiety, receiving counselling and psychotherapy face to face or online is an important way of processing difficult feelings in a private, supportive environment and coming up with practical solutions. However, you most likely only see a therapist for an hour each week. Managing your mental health outside that time is just as important, and physical exercise is one of the best ways to maintain a healthy mindset in between sessions. This blog post walks you through a few ways exercise can be so beneficial for your mental health.
Increased Mindfulness
Our team of experienced therapists often use mindfulness as an important part of their work with clients. People who live with trauma-related issues, from addiction to depression to PTSD, struggle with the effects of their past and have anxiety about the future, which is why we work on practicing techniques that help them live more in the present. And while many may struggle to put this into practice in the treatment room or over Zoom, exercise gives people a more natural, instinctive way of feeling what is happening in and around them in each moment. In other words, exercise is mindfulness in action.
More Endorphins
Exercise has been scientifically proven to improve one’s mental wellbeing. This is because physical activity boosts your endorphin levels, the ‘feel good’ chemical produced by the brain and spinal cord that creates feelings of euphoria. Even something simple like going on a 20-minute jog will leave you feeling lighter, happier, and more rested. At the same time, activities like running or swimming forces the central and sympathetic nervous systems to communicate with each other, which has the effect of improving your body’s ability to respond to stress.
Improved Sleep
For many people experiencing depression, anxiety, or any other mental health issue, sleep can often become a problem. Getting to sleep is harder when the mind is restless and full of painful thought patterns; and when you do fall asleep, the quality of that sleep is usually not so good, meaning you wake up unrested and have a more negative mindset throughout the day. An unhealthy cycle is therefore created. Exercise, however, can break this loop by regulating your body’s circadian rhythm and ensuring you feel suitably tired enough to fall asleep at a good hour and have longer, more restful sleep.
If you are experiencing mental health issues like depression or anxiety and want to know more about how we can help you as counsellors and psychotherapists in Hampstead and online, feel free to get in touch for a free, 30-minute consultation.


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