After over a year, it’s starting to feel as though there is a light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel as the vaccination scheme rolls out around the country, cases drop, and the government announces dates when restrictions will lift. After such a long time, however, it’s only natural to feel apprehensive about going back out into the world, especially for those who have been extra vigilant to stay safe due to shielding.
This is an exciting time but it’s also a nerve-wracking time and that’s only natural. With ‘the new normal’ to compete with, and an underlying fear of illness, there is no wonder that anyone might feel nervous about coming out of lockdown and returning to the world.
A Mum Reviews blogger Petra stresses that you should do everything in your own time, telling us: “If you're feeling apprehensive about the coming changes and the ease of lockdown, just remember that you can do it all in your own time. You don't have to do anything that you're not comfortable with - do things at a speed that feel safe for you.”
Jo from A Rose-Tinted World tells us it’s normal for people to feel apprehensive and there is nothing wrong with it: “I think that it is perfectly reasonable and understandable that some people may be really nervous about going back into a work situation or being in a more populated space after lockdown. Some people will be longing to get back to work and won’t care about being in a packed space, but others have thrived at home and could be very apprehensive.
“I think that everyone needs to have some empathy for others and stop being too judgmental. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes.”
If you are feeling apprehensive but want to put yourself in the best position to enjoy life whilst not going too far outside of your comfort zone, this article offers some tips and advice on actions you can take when coming out of lockdown.
One thing we’ve learnt is how much safer it can be to be outside in the fresh air when a virus is present. As restrictions are looking to lift before summertime for social gathering, it can be a good idea to try and ensure as many of your social gatherings as possible are outdoors. Not only does this mean you can make the most of the often-fleeting British weather, but it also means you can put your mind at ease a bit.
This can be especially useful if meeting friends or family for food at a local restaurant or café. It’s only natural that over the past year you’ve tried to keep your distance from those you don’t know and now it’s going to take some time to feel completely comfortable in a social setting again. By opting to sit outside you can have peace of mind that those close to you are people you trust and know and you have distance between yourself and others you don’t know.
A key way to ensure the people you intend to meet with are on the same page as you when it comes to boundaries is to talk to them before you meet them about what you expect and want for the meeting. For example, when seeing family members (especially little ones who may get over-excited) state before you see one another that you aren’t ready for physical contact like hugging yet, or you’d prefer that they still tried to keep their distance as much as possible
Victoria from Healthy Vix suggests being open with those in your life, explaining: “My top piece of advice would be to talk to friends and family about how you are feeling. If you feel apprehensive about meeting up with others and getting out and about, then take it slowly and let other people know. Don't feel forced into meeting up with a bunch of family and friends if you are not ready. Ultimately, we all have to do what we are comfortable with and what feels safe to each of us as individuals and this will widely vary from person to person.
“If you are not ready to dive back into life as it once was then don't feel pressured. Take it in baby steps if you need to and let your closest know. They will understand.”
When apprehensive about anything taking small steps is the best way to tackle it and coming out of lockdown is no different. For many during this time who are in higher vulnerability groups, it’s not uncommon that you’ve taken more rides on your straight stairlift than in your car in the last year! If this is the case, simply taking small journeys out of the home by yourself, whether for a drive in the car, a walk in a local nature reserve or visiting a small shop near you can be a great first step.
This is advice that Catherine from Growing Family told us she has shared with her loved ones: “My advice is don’t put too much pressure on yourself. There’s no deadline for being ‘back to normal’, and you can absolutely take things at a pace that suits you. I’ve chatted with my elderly relatives about starting with small steps that they feel in control of and building from there. Something like going for a drive in the car, with a nice view as the destination, is a good option - if you feel like getting out and going for a short walk you can, but if not, you can stay in the car and enjoy the view.”
Jo, from A Rose-Tinted World, also spoke about this with us: “The best way to approach it is to do what feels comfortable and take it at our own pace as much as you can. If you are nervous, keep hand sanitiser with you at all times, still have a mask if you need it. And explain to others that you feel uncomfortable if they get too close.”
Since the beginning of the pandemic, for many, an exciting outing may be to the shop or to fill the car up with petrol! With such limited interactions, the amount we’ve actually done on a daily schedule has reduced and as such, it may be a lot easier to tire or get overwhelmed once the restrictions lift.
Again, it’s about readapting to life outside of lockdown and to start, it’s wise to ensure you don’t overload your schedule. One silver lining of the lockdowns has been that people are able to spend more time at home, focusing on themselves and creating a routine more centred around how they would like to spend their time. Now restrictions are lifting it can be a big change to jump back into a hectic social schedule and once again feel as though we have to keep up with social demands so try to ensure that you keep some free time to yourself, so you don’t get burnt out by it all.
Julie, a blogger at Mummy It’s OK. offered this advice: “Keep it simple to start with. Just because everything is open, and you can now see more people don’t do it all at once. You may find this overwhelming after a year in lockdown. Plan one thing for each weekend. It could be visiting parents one weekend, visit a friend the next. Or maybe go to your local shopping centre for a walk around and a coffee.”
It can be easy to compare yourself to others, whether it’s those that you know who are booking holidays for later in the year or watching gatherings on TV, however, you shouldn’t do this. From the vaccination roll-out to hidden illnesses and varying infection rates around the country and different personal needs, there are myriad reasons why someone might be taking the process either quicker or more slowly than you intend to.
Growing Family blogger Catherine believes this, telling us: “I would recommend not comparing yourself to others, everyone’s journey out of lockdown is going to be different and the most important thing is to feel safe and comfortable.”
Jo from A Rose-Tinted World also had this advice: “Above all, forget about what others think. Let them do what they want to and stay in your own lane.”
Transitioning out of lockdown is an exciting time for many, however, it’s completely normal to be apprehensive about the up-and-coming changes. With these tips, you’ll be better equipped when the time comes to move at your own pace and in a way that is comfortable for you and your loved ones.
For more tips and advice, make sure to visit our news page.
This news article is from Companion Stairlifts. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.