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Well-being during Covid-19
Coping with lockdown easing
Although many of us will be pleased to see lockdown restrictions starting to be lifted, going back outside again, and beginning to see friends and family may make us feel anxious. Here, age UK offer some valuable advice for us all.
I'm anxious about lockdown measures being eased. What can I do?
You may be worried about contracting or spreading the virus and unsure what we should and shouldn’t be doing. You may feel worried about loved ones or angry if other people don’t seem to be following the guidelines.
After months spent indoors, you may also feel unmotivated to start going out or socialising again, no matter how much you’ve missed our friends and families.
There is no right or wrong way to be dealing with this situation and it’s important to go at your own pace.
Although it may seem daunting, there are things you can do to help along the way:
- Go at your own pace. The first few times you go outside might make you feel anxious. You can help manage this by taking small steps at a time. Work out what you’re most worried about and make a plan for how to make it more manageable. There are lots of ways to do this. If you’re meeting up with a friend but worried about going to a busy place, see if you could meet outside instead or in the morning, when there are likely to be fewer people about. Let people know what you feel comfortable doing and don’t feel pressured into doing more than you want to. Likewise, don’t pressure other people into moving at your pace. Everyone will have their own thresholds of what they are happy doing which we’ll need to respect, even if you disagree with them. If you’re going to the shops for the first time, you might want to make a list before you go so that you can quickly complete your shopping. Think about what would work for you to make the transition easier. If you’re finding it hard to manage your worries or feel like this is stopping you from doing the things you want to do, you might find talking therapies could help you to cope. Find out more about how talking helps.
- Explore different techniques to help manage your anxiety. You might find it calming to listen to music, podcasts, or audiobooks when you go outside for the first few times. You could also try doing some breathing exercises or meditation to help calm you before you leave the house or when you get back. Find out more about mindfulness.
- Reach out. Talk to people you trust about how you are feeling. You may be surprised to find that many of your friends and family are experiencing the same worries. Find out what they’re doing to help manage their concerns and see if there are things you can do together.
- If you’re going back to your work, you may feel especially worried. Talk to your manager or organisation about your concerns and see if any adjustments could be made to help you feel more comfortable. The government have provided guidance for workplaces to make them safer for people as well as guidance for those are considered more vulnerable to coronavirus. You can find this guidance here and may wish to have a conversation with your employer about how they are making your workplace safe or supporting you to work from home if possible.
I find following the new guidelines quite difficult. Is there any advice for me?
Although new guidelines, such as social distancing and face coverings, are in place to keep us safe, they can make going out much more daunting. For some, such as people living with dementia, sight loss, or a mental health condition, following the guidelines might be difficult and you may be worried about doing it wrong or how others will respond. You could think in advance about how to communicate why you can’t follow the guidance in case anyone asks.
If you find it hard to socially distance from other people you could download a ‘give me space’ badge from the government website. This lets people know that you find it hard to socially distance and asks them to keep their distance and be kind.
If you're unable to wear a face covering, the government have produced exemption from face covering badges and cards which you can download to your phone or print off. You can get one here.
I'm concerned about local restrictions being enforced
The government are monitoring the situation closely and if infection rates start to rise then local lockdowns may be put in place. Local lockdowns will be different depending on the situation, but it could mean that businesses are closed, and you will need to spend more time inside again. It’s important to keep an eye on the situation in your local area so you know what to do, you can do this by checking the government website on local restrictions.