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The anxiety of reopening and challenges facing businesses

Updated: Nov 15, 2021

Lockdown is ending; it’s what we all wanted… but in a somewhat uncharted business environment – particularly as government support and funding evaporate like monsoonal rain from the Savanah – for some, it presents a whole new range of anxiety as they forge ahead.

It’s been a hard two years for everyone, particularly those with anxiety and depression, not to mention Autism. Mental health has been at an all-time low. But the harsh reality, both now and historically, is that mental health is secondary to survival, as in all crises.

We have been asked to do so many things that are uncomfortable or that we don’t like. It’s been the first time many of us privileged folks have been told what to do for our own safety, and it’s been fair to say we sucked at it. We learnt slowly, many of us kicking and screaming like it was ripping our soul out. Who would have thought self-preservation, perspective and caring for our community during a global pandemic would be so hard for some?

I digress. It’s been hard for us all, and just as we have adapted to the new normal of lockdown, the many and varied ways we had to operate our businesses just to keep the doors open, and now we begin to open up again, anxiety spikes for many.

Ch-ch-change This has been the motto of the pandemic. So many changes so fast on so many different fronts. And it’s hard to keep up.

As an autistic person, this has personally been my greatest challenge. Running scenarios in my head, planning the future, planning an outing, all done and redone a million times.

It’s exhausting… and something that we will all need to be doing as we reopen. What we do know is things will constantly change based on health advice, new research, politics (sadly), public health data and how messages are communicated.

As silly as it sounds, I’ve found it helps to expect and plan for change. I’ve been reading Taleb’s work, “The Black Swan”, which I’ve found quite unintentionally helpful during the pandemic. It outlines how we assume we know all possible outcomes, when in fact, we don’t. What lies outside our assumed range of possible outcomes is a black swan.

So, as we open up and things start to change and change again, try to notice black swans, and see the beauty in them rolling with whatever comes your way. Control of self rather than control of the world can help to reduce the mental load.

We all need support… financial or otherwise During lockdown, there has been a vas