Post Lockdown…

When I think of life after lockdown, I feel a mixture of excitement and anxiety. Excitement to do the little things we used to take for granted such as seeing friends and family, hugs, going to shops and cafes, days out…

But also, anxiety…what will life look like? Will I feel comfortable going into shops, restaurants, cinemas, or any crowded places?

I guess everyone will react differently when lockdown ends and the most important thing to remember is to be kind to yourself and accept that however you are feeling is ok. If you are desperate to hop on the first plane to sunnier climates that’s fine, but if you are someone who wants to take baby steps back into life as we knew it or as close as we are going to get, then that’s also fine.

We have all been through something completely new and unexpected, so all we can do is cope the best we can without judgement and without putting expectations on ourselves.

Maybe you are dreading meeting up with people for fear of what the conversation may entail…maybe you’re worried that people will say that during lockdown they became fluent in a language, learnt how to play an instrument, set up a new business, became an avid painter etc. However, whether you did any of these things or not we have all achieved something – we have all survived lockdown!

I know it’s irrational, but the sense we should be achieving something new, creates anxiety which isn’t helped by social media posts claiming things such as if we haven’t acquired 100,000 YouTube subscribers, learned Mandarin or trained to run a marathon, that we “didn’t lack time, we lacked discipline”.

Yet, when have we ever had a time in our lives as adults when we’ve felt it’s ok to live in pyjamas, have naps, enjoy duvet days, eat takeaway 2 days on the trot or allow ourselves to weep for no reason?!

The world we live in, (particularly in the UK) has become so pressured and fast paced yet one of the few advantages of lockdown is that hopefully some of us have learned that it’s ok to press the pause button and not do anything. I think for a lot of people it’s been a time of reassessing life in terms of careers, hobbies, relationships, self-discovery or re-affirming what’s most important to us.

For anyone who is worried about life post lockdown, take your time, and start small. It could be something as little as finally feeling you have an excuse to wear something other than loungewear, meeting up with a friend for a picnic or going for a drive without worrying if it’s a necessary trip. Try and notice the little things, so for me, I love the sea and whenever life feels overwhelming that’s where I like to go. Visualisation helps but it doesn’t replace being there so the first chance I get that’s where I will be going. I’ll smell the sea air, listen to the crashing waves and the seagulls and feel the sand between my toes. All these things I find very calming and it doesn’t need to be hot and sunny to enjoy it either!

Remember that when all this started, we would never have imagined spending the best part of a year at home, with schools and shops closed, and not being able to visit family or friends. Yet, we’ve already adapted to this major change in our lives. I think we deserve a massive pat on the back for that!

Right now, there are still so many unknowns about when or how lockdown will end. For me, a way I am trying to cope is by not making solid plans yet as I feel this may lead to disappointment. I know that as soon as I can, I will be going to see friends and family and enjoying day trips. I try to take each day as it comes and keep myself busy.

I know my girls have definitely helped me get through this and they are an inspiration. They’ve taken everything on the chin and gone with the flow despite missing friends, family and not being able to go places.

I am surprised at how well I’ve coped (don’t get me wrong, I’ve had my moments), particularly as I suffer with health anxiety and at the start of the pandemic, I was a lot more stressed about it than I am now. I suppose in a way I have learned to live with it in a way that works for me.

……When I picture the end of lockdown, I imagine herds of wildebeest being released into the wild!! I also think of the scene in Love Actually where they filmed everyone greeting loved ones at Heathrow Airport…no doubt there will be lots of hugs, tears, love, kisses and passion!

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