We’ve adapted to a new normal, pressing traffic light buttons with elbows, shouting at the telly when actors aren’t two metres apart and swerving to avoid strangers when out and about. Many of us have spent months dreaming of the day all this nonsense comes to an end, so why are some feeling overwhelmed about the prospect of the UK opening back up again on the 21st June? CALM took a look at why it’s normal to feel a bit nervous about being unlocked.
Over the past year, our worlds have become dramatically smaller. Many of us haven’t travelled further than the local park and the most socialising we’ve done has been with Pam at the local supermarket. Home has become a safe space from the big scary world outside and we’ve cushioned ourselves with new routines and habits. A poll on our socials showed just how mixed emotions are – with 64% of you saying you were feeling anxious and only 36% relaxed.
But with the announcement of a roadmap out of lockdown there’s hope this will be the last lockdown. With vaccines rolling out across the country and a falling infection rate, it feels like there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, but as our worlds slowly start to expand again, it’s normal to feel a bit weird.
Maybe you’ve preferred life in lockdown, you’re worried you’ve forgotten how to socialise, or feel nervous about the safety of returning to the hustle and bustle of reality. There are lots of things to feel anxious about, so here’s our roundup of some post-lockdown worries and how to quieten them. And remember, whatever you’re feeling CALM are here no matter what.
Stressed about: Meeting mates IRL again
Feel like you’ve forgotten how to be friends? Remember we’re all in the same boat – you’ll be a seasoned socialiser again in no time!
The situation: The prospect of bear hugging our pals might have us buzzing for June, but after spending so much time in our own homes, beer garden banter and noisy public spaces can feel daunting. We’ll have to remember how to dress in real people clothes (remember jeans?) and acclimatise to the fact we’ll no longer be able to mute the mic or shutdown the laptop on more introverted days. What’s more, none of us have done much in 12 months, so we’re lacking the usual anecdote armory that makes conversation come much easier.
How to deal with it: Socialising is likely to feel pretty exhausting at first. So if the thought of cramming into a busy club is spinning you out, ease yourself back into it, whether that means meeting up at a friend’s house before a night out or opting for a quieter spot. Social slip ups are inevitable after the long lack of human contact – just laugh them off, remember everyone is in the same boat and take things at your own pace
Stressed about: Keeping yourself and loved ones safe
The lack of rules might feel odd at first – take time to find your feet in post-lockdown life and don’t expect to ditch the antibac just yet.
The situation: Up until now we’ve had guidelines and rules to keep us safe, so navigating the world without them is going to feel strange. While you might be imagining a cinematic moment where we all tear off our face masks and shake hands with strangers on the 21st of June, the reality is that many will feel cautious about ditching these safety nets.
How to deal with it: It can feel like the responsibility has been placed back on us, which can be intimidating. Some may leap back to life before lockdown, others may tip toe and that’s perfectly understandable.
Stressed about: Walking back into your workplace
Worried about returning to work? You’re not alone – be honest with your boss about what’s bothering you.
The situation: If you’ve been away from your workplace, either on furlough or working from home, you’ve probably got used to doing things your own way. While those in flatshares may be relishing the return to work, the unlimited snack and coffee supply, skipping tedious commutes, sneaking in an episode of your favourite show on lunch, home workouts, or simply having more time with your family, means a lot of people have got used to home comforts.
Heading back to work after a long holiday can feel tough enough, so after months in the comfort of your own home, diving back into a lively workspace can be frightening. If you’ve been furloughed for a while you might have anxieties about getting back up to speed, or even doubts in your ability to still do the job.
How to deal with it: Whatever your worries, they’re valid. Take things one day at a time and if you’re able, arrange a return-to-work conversation with your manager to communicate your concerns. At the end of the day, you’re only human and it might take a little while to get back in the swing of things.
Stressed about: The thought of another lockdown
It’s all about baby steps! Don’t fall into what-ifs about the future – focus on the here and now.
The situation: Let’s be honest, this last push has really tested everyone’s resolve, especially after a fleeting taste of freedom back in summer. We’ve become chameleons, mastering the art of adapting to new rules, but no matter how resilient we try to be, the thought of heading back into yet ANOTHER lockdown if it all goes to pot feels bloody hard.
How to deal with it: Many of us are burnt out and some of us are even sceptical over the promise that this will be the last lockdown, jumping to what-ifs about the future. Remember, you’re not Mystic Meg and nobody can see into the future, so while we’re not going to get all hippy dippy about it, give yourself permission to go with the flowww.
The road out of lockdown will probably feel nerve-wracking and even bumpy at times, but CALM are here to help you navigate whatever you’re feeling. Our free, confidential helpline and webchat is open from 5pm until midnight every day.
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