These are most unusual times. Times that have caused stress, confusion and anxiety for many of us. But as the UK begins to emerge from our COVID-19 induced lockdown, are we becoming less anxious? How have we been coping with feelings of anxiety in lockdown? And are we planning to make changes as we reflect on this huge change to our world?
We commissioned leading polling company YouGov to conduct a survey of 2,014 adults across Great Britain (weighted to be representative of the GB population) for us to find out.
How are British adults feeling now the lockdown is easing?
We asked people to rate how they are feeling now that the Coronavirus lockdown is easing, compared to when it first began on 23rd March 2020.
It’s clear from these results that instead of easing anxiety, coming out of lockdown is raising more issues than it’s solving for people.
78% of British adults are suffering from the same or greater anxiety than when the lockdown began.
In fact, only 20% of Brits are feeling less anxious now lockdown is ending.
Millennials (18-34s) are more likely to be concerned about coming out of lockdown. 18% say they are much more anxious compared to just 12% of those aged 35+.
Older generations were most ambivalent about the change, with 43% of those aged 55 and above reporting roughly the same level of anxiety as before.
What is causing this anxiety?
We asked people to tell us what one thing was currently making them feel the most anxious.
Concern about the increased chance of catching Coronavirus when lockdown is eased was the most significant issue, with 36% of people citing this as their biggest cause of anxiety. Uncertainty about what future life would be like was a close second with 30% naming this as their biggest anxiety.
Younger generations are most likely age group to see money as the biggest issue, older generations are most worried about health.
18-24 year olds were the most likely to be anxious about money (15%) followed closely by 25-34 year olds (13%). The younger generation also viewed uncertainty about what life after lockdown will be like as their biggest overall source of anxiety (37%).
Older generations - those aged 55 and above - were the least likely age group to view money as their biggest concern (4%) but saw the risk of contracting the virus as the most significant issue (42%) to them.
How have people been coping with anxiety during lockdown?
We asked people what they have been doing to help them cope with their anxiety during the lockdown. Respondents could select more than one option, so the total of replies exceeds 100%.
Only 1 in 5 with anxieties reported drinking more alcohol, whereas nearly a third (32%) said they resorted to comfort eating.
Millennials (18-34 year olds) were twice more likely to turn to natural therapies like CBD than to use prescription medication more frequently to help with lockdown anxiety (6% vs 3%).
Women are turning to mindfulness, men are turning to video games
14% of women (8% of men) are practicing mindfulness / meditation / spiritual practice more often, 19% of men (10% of women) playing more video games to help cope with anxiety caused by lockdown.
Regional variations showed that Londoners with anxieties were the most likely to turn to spiritual practices like meditation (17%) and natural therapies like CBD and aromatherapy (6%).
London also saw a big gender divide in coping strategies, with 22% of women vs. 11% of men practicing mindfulness / meditation / spiritual practice more often and 16% of men (vs. 8% of women) playing more video games to help cope with anxiety caused by lockdown.
18-24 year olds had the biggest increase in media consumption, with 48% reporting watching more TV/streaming content and 41% using social media more than normal.
Finally - what will people do next?
Lockdown has certainly provided plenty of opportunity to reflect, so how many people feel primed to make a change to their life when lockdown comes to an end?
A whopping 51% of people reported that they wantto make changes to their ‘normal’ life when lockdown ends, while 36% were happy with the way their life was before lockdown and don’t want to make any changes.
Editor’s Notes: All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2,014 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 26th - 27th May 2020. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).
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