Image: Unsplash
Image: Unsplash

It’s normal to be nervous about lockdown easing

It is no secret that the majority of us have been waiting for the end of Covid restrictions for over a year now. However, some of us may not be feeling the level of elation we were expecting at the thought of lockdown easing. While the thought of having complete freedom back has been something to look forward to, now that it is suddenly upon us, the thought of actually interacting with large groups of people again can be daunting.

Due to the restrictions on public gatherings, many people have not interacted with more than five other people at a time since March last year, unless in a work or education setting. Those who have been able to work from home probably haven’t left their homes for non-essential activities since September. How are we supposed to feel now that we are all suddenly faced with the prospect of ‘normal life’ after so little face-to-face interaction?

It is important to listen to yourself and only do what you are happy to and are comfortable with

After an entire year of university via zoom (mostly with my microphone muted and my camera switched off), I can’t remember what it was like having to wake up two hours before my lecture to get ready and catch the bus on to campus. The prospect of having to deal with picking a good seat on the bus is definitely not something to look forward to.

It is completely normal not to feel pure excitement about the ease of lockdown. It is completely fine to be anxious about ‘normal life’. It can seem almost incomprehensible at times that we are still being to stay at home now, and yet in a few months we could be at outdoor festivals. After a year of being told how serious the pandemic is and how important it is to minimise social contact, it’s going to take some time to adjust to a post-covid mindset – sensible but sociable.

The first time you enter a restriction-free gathering, it is going to feel weird, and that’s okay. Even if others are pushing you to come to loads of events after 21 June, it is important to listen to yourself and only do what you are happy to and are comfortable with. You certainly don’t want your first outing after 21 June to involve a “coronaphobia” induced anxiety attack. Only do what you feel comfortable with try not to listen to the FOMO. If you are worried, there will be more events in the future – it is perfect to want to do something low-key to mark the end of lockdown or nothing at all.

This is why it is okay if you need more transition time than some people once restrictions are eased

Another aspect to consider is the suspected rise in health anxiety and mysophobia/germophobia. It is not going to be easy to ‘re-enter society’ after being in your safe, clean house for so long. I have definitely gotten used to knowing exactly what has been cleaned and that my surroundings are always safe. It will be stressful for many people, having to constantly worry about what we last touched and when we last sanitised our hands.

I have gotten into the habit that on the rare occasion I leave my house, I put my entire outfit out for a wash when I get back. During lockdown, this was not such a big deal, but it isn’t particularly practical to wash a pair of jeans after every wash. It will be hard for people not knowing who has handled their food, for example. This is why it is okay if you need more transition time than some people once restrictions are eased.

We have the power to control the speed at which we acclimatise back into ‘normal life’, so take your time

In March last year, we were forced into a drastic change in order to save lives. We didn’t have a choice but to stay in our homes and a lot of us struggled to deal with such a dramatic change all at once. This year, with drastic changes in restrictions ahead of us, we have the power to control the speed at which we acclimatise back into ‘normal life’, so take your time.

With that being said, I am looking forward to waving goodbye to lockdown restrictions. However, I am mostly looking forward to the smaller things – hugging my friends and family, going out for meals (Las Iguanas, I’ve got my eye on you) and being able to try on outrageous sale items in Urban Outfitters.

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