Anxiety is normal: Ministry of Heath says worried feelings are ordinary as Kiwis return to work and school

The Ministry of Health (MoH) says anxiety is normal as Kiwis start heading back to work and school.

After the alert level 3 lockdown was ended this week, New Zealanders are once again free to reopen their businesses and return to their jobs, education and daily routine.

But the MoH says this will come at a cost for some people.

"While some of us will be looking forward to being around people again, it might also feel strange and some people may feel anxious," the Ministry of Health said  Sunday.

"These feelings are completely normal. It's ok to notice that it feels different and to reach out to someone to talk about it or to look for useful tips and guidance online.

"It's also a really good time to start a daily wellbeing routine that can help keep you feeling physically and mentally fit.

"Looking after your mental wellbeing every day helps make coping with tougher times easier. Stay healthy and stay safe New Zealand."

The MoH says there is a range of different resources available on its website to help people.

Professor Ian Hickie, co-director of the Brain and Mind Centre at the University of Sydney, tells the Guardian the best treatment for anxiety during this period is to get back together with your friends and talk about it.

Human beings, he says, are social animals and cope in a crisis by coming together. On the flip side, anxiety leads to avoidance, which in turn heightens the fear. 

"The treatment, the cure, is to go out there in the world and discuss with others and get back to your normal life."

Where to find help and support: