It’s fair to say that Lockdown has affected all our lives in different ways. A CALM survey showed us 6 in 10 people in the UK experienced anxiety during lockdown. So the easing of lockdown is exciting, right?
Well, yes for some of us it will be. After being stuck indoors for so long, having more ability to see your mates, visit our families and get out of the house is great. But with the increasingly blurred lines of what ‘lockdown’ means (you only need to flick through your Insta to see that), it can be a minefield to try and work out what you’re comfortable with. And our recent poll on our social channels revealed 75% of us felt anxious about the lifting of restrictions over the weekend.
We’ve all experienced the last three months in different ways. We’re all on different timeframes. So we thought it would be handy if we put together five tips to help make getting back out there a little smoother, simpler (and hopefully more fun) for everyone. We call it staying, er, ALERT (sure we’ve heard that somewhere before):
Always take things at your own pace
When lockdown was announced the message was clear - stay home. Now things aren’t so clear: we all have more choice. In England, you can now get your haircut, go to the pub or have your favourite meal at that restaurant you’ve been craving since lockdown began. You can go to a model village now too (who doesn’t love a model village?). And, if you feel ready, go for it. But if you’re not up to that BBQ or meet up, that’s OK too (there will be other BBQs, we promise). You’re not weird for saying you’re not ready for large crowds yet (there. has. been. a. GLOBAL. PANDEMIC!).Follow your gut, go where you’re comfortable and if it doesn’t feel right, then it isn’t right.
Wanna see how that works?
Lockdown is different for everyone
It’s always good to remember that your mates, family and colleagues won't necessarily feel the same way that you do about everything that’s happening. Whether they’re seven-BBQs-a-week people or still-trying-to-avoid-groups guys, there’s no right or wrong - we’re all coming out of Lockdown in our own way and just trying to feel as comfortable as we can.
Enjoy the things you enjoy
Things have changed. And just because we’re coming out of lockdown doesn’t mean you need to go straight back to how it was before.
Think back over the last few months: are there any new habits you’ve picked up (or not so good ones you’ve left behind)? It can be little things or whole new hobbies. Chatting to more people over Zoom? Cooking? Running? Just taking time out for yourself? If you’ve noticed that new routines have helped you improve your mental wellbeing, try making them part of your new normal. Probably won’t get away with rolling out of bed at 8.57am for work anymore though…
Remember what felt OK today, might not tomorrow (and that’s fine)
Remember when lockdown was announced? And how many, many (many) things have changed since then? Well, things are going to keep shifting and that means your idea of what you feel comfortable doing may well change too.
It’s OK to change your mind, to decide ‘Actually, maybe I’m not quite ready for that’. Yeah, some people may not get it, most will completely understand. This is a weird time for everyone. Just be clear and honest about how you feel (and remember to let Uncle Barry know you won’t be at the BBQ so he won’t buy too many sausages.)
Yes, we always bang on about it, but having a chat, zoom call, meme-off or email, can make a massive difference. Being open and honest with people about how you’re feeling can be really helpful. And talking about all the confusion in the world can also help you make a little more sense of it too.
Tl;dr? Basically, you don’t have to do everything all at once. Do what’s best for you. The last few months have been A LOT. Things are going to be different and that can be uncomfortable - you don’t have to pretend that everything is fine just because others are saying it is. And vice versa - don’t feel bad about seeing your mates again.
The most important thing is not to keep your feelings on lockdown. Talk to the people around you and, if you’re struggling, talk to us. We’re here every day, 5pm-midnight, whatever you’re going through with free, confidential and practical support. Call us 0800 58 58 58 or through our webchat.