Are you in fear of the loosening of lockdown restrictions?
Did you know that 84% of people fear change? That is a really high number isn’t it?
A number which means that many people all feel the same way when it comes to doing something different in their lives.
“Change can be scary, but you know what’s scarier? Allowing fear to stop you from growing, evolving and progressing” Mandy Hale.
Taking the current situation, with a pandemic sweeping through the world and our lives as we know them not what they once were, there is a lot of change that people are having to deal with. And a lot of that change comes with a lot of fear, especially at such a fragile time.
For the week leading up to lockdown I put safety measures in place to ensure that I felt better and more in control. The virus is still there, but I know we have to live with it. The time we have had in lockdown has meant businesses and schools have had time to get prepared to support the transition back to a ‘new’ normal. Coming out of lockdown as a family we are following the very blurred rules, but are taking it one step at a time. This would have been a step way too far for us.
But what about others?
People who have been shielding for the last three months have been told that from 6th July, they may meet in a group of up to 6 people, whilst strictly social distancing. And from August 1st, they no longer need to shield at all, but instead, go about their activities using strict social distancing. But of course, many are scared and nervous to go out for the first time. Many are worried about returning to work while the virus is still in circulation. They haven’t been able to get used to the social distancing because they haven’t been allowed to go out and experience it like the rest of us have. It will all be so very new to them.
People living on their own, and single parents, were recently told that they could form a bubble with one other household. However many are still scared of the risks that come with it, even though the benefits are so strong.
Non essential shops are now open, and from July 4th, people can now get their hair cut. But the worry of still catching this virus is still there, and many people won’t just be going back to the hairdressers as soon as they are able.
Again, from July 4th, children’s playgrounds will be re-opened. But many parents really aren’t sure that they are ready to let their children run around a park and put their hands over everything. Not to mention how hard it is to get children to social distance in a park!
The problem is, is that life is somewhat returning to a little bit of normal, but there is a very real threat of the virus having created a nation of people who are too scared to leave their homes. Because we have all gotten a bit used to being in lockdown haven’t we?
Yes we have missed the convenience of just going out without a thought, and missed the familiarity of just going to see our families whenever we please. But while many of us have been wrapped up in our bubbles at home and hiding away from the virus, we have all felt pretty safe.
Of course there are some people who cannot wait to get their hair done. Some were first to visit the zoos when they re-opened, and some couldn’t wait to get to those shops and buy their Summer clothes. But there are also many, many people, who are in absolutely no rush at all to do any of those things. So how do we come through these feelings of fear? How do we start getting our lives back on track whilst still being careful and wise?
Take it step by step
There really is no rush to be doing all the things. If you are worried about even stepping foot outside of your house, you need to conquer this part first before you worry yourself with all the other options that are now available to you.
A first step could be to spend a few hours in your front garden. Sit out there with a book or spend some time doing some gardening, and assess how the situation is. How people are social distancing when they pass each other, how many people are out and about at any one time.
Then when you feel ready, go for a short walk. Plan it though. Know where you are going to be going, what route you plan on taking. And then go. Even if it just a quick five minutes round the block to start with, doing it regularly and building the time up will really help you to feel more comfortable over time.
Visit small shops
If you are scared to go to the supermarket then don’t. That would be too major a step for a first time back to the shops. So plan a visit to your small independent shops. Even if it just to the local bakery to grab a cake and take it back home again. Or to the newsagent to grab a newspaper. There should be less people allowed in at one time, and you could even phone ahead to find out when the quietest time to visit is, and what precautions they have in place. Knowing this information will give you more confidence in making the trip.
And then build it up from there. Next time visit the bakery and the newsagent. And then the bakery, the newsagent, and the butcher. And when you are then feeling brave enough to go into a larger supermarket, just go in for a couple of things that you know the exact location of. Bread and milk. Go in, grab them, pay, and leave. Then next time make a slightly bigger list, and so on. Building on it a little at a time and scoping the shops out is the best way to make yourself feel more at ease.
Find some local natural play areas for the kids
If you are worried about taking the kids to the park for the first time (the thought is pretty terrifying to be honest), then try and find somewhere that has some equipment that they could use that isn’t actual park equipment. Find a small open field for them to run around in, and get them to climb over branches and logs. Allow them to sit on the benches. Keep them close to, but far enough away from other children.
These little things will help get you to making that leap towards going through the gates of the actual play park and letting them loose on the equipment. And when you do that, make sure you take wipes and hand sanitiser, knowing that you are keeping them as safe as you can, whilst letting them have some of that freedom that they are all so desperate for.
Don’t pressure yourself
If you aren’t ready, then just don’t worry. Just because they have made these new announcements, it doesn’t mean that you immediately have to go changing the habits that you have now become accustomed to. Wait it out a little while longer. See what impact the further releasing of the lockdown has, and if after a couple of weeks it looks like things are staying the same or improving, then start thinking about the above ways of getting yourself back out of the house. You will get there eventually, it might just take a little time.
There is no rush in this. There is no race. Take it little by little and be kind to yourself. This is a new situation for everyone and I think you’ll be one of many people who are feeling the exact same way.