Feeling worried about restrictions lifting? You’re not alone…
When Boris Johnson announced that restrictions such as social distancing and mask wearing will be lifted on July 19th, there was a mixed response to ‘Freedom Day’. Of course, we all want things to be back to normal just as soon as possible, but many people feel this decision is too drastic – and too soon.
Why Am I Worried?
It’s normal to feel anxious and worried about these changes. We’ve followed rules and restrictions for over a year now, doing our bit to try to stop the spread of covid. In a way, we’ve almost become used to wearing a mask when we jump on a bus or walk into a shop and keeping a distance from others. The thought of losing these safety measures make many people feel concerned, especially those of us who are more vulnerable and unvaccinated. Covid is still a very real threat.
What Can I Do?
While the restrictions are set to be lifted, there’s no reason you can’t continue to follow them, if you want to. You can continue using a mask when you use public transport and in indoor cafes and shops, and you can still be mindful of keeping your distance from others and avoiding busy places. There’s absolutely no harm or stigma in doing this at all. In fact, many thousands of others will continue to do the very same thing.
You can use these helpful tips in various situations when the restrictions are lifted:
You can continue to wear your mask while you shop. You may also want to carry your own bottle of sanitiser. You could also choose quieter times to go shopping, such as early in the morning, to avoid peak busy times. Don’t forget you also have the option of online shopping, which removes the need to go out and about altogether.
Bars, Restaurants and Cafés
You can take your own sanitiser with you when you go out to eat and continue to wear a mask when you’re moving around the venue. You could opt for outdoor seating or sit beside an open window for ventilation. Many bars and restaurants have an app to allow you to order your food and drinks online, removing the need to stand and wait at a busy bar with other customers.
School, College and University
You might feel particularly nervous about returning to school, college or uni. This is a normal way to feel. You might also feel worried about being put under peer pressure to ‘ditch’ the mask from friends and classmates. Your school or campus will be busy working out how they will operate in a safe manner after Freedom Day so try not to panic or worry too much about the ‘what-ifs’. Once you know more, you can assess the situation and make your own decisions.
Friends and Family
Many of us can’t wait to hug relatives again and to have reunions with larger family and friendship groups. Many of us feel anxious at the thought of this because of fears about covid. There is no right or wrong here. There are no sides. Everyone is entitled to do (or not do) what they feel comfortable with. If you feel pressured into doing something that makes you anxious, don’t feel bad about saying no. Talk to your friends/family to explain why you feel this way and ask them to respect your decisions.
Coping With Anxiety
Try dealing with your anxiety by writing down what it is you do and don’t feel comfortable doing to make you feel more in control of your decisions. You could also try taking baby steps – if you’re nervous about taking a bus, for example, you may want to start small by jumping on a very quiet bus for a very short journey.
Read more about coping with anxiety here.