Since the government announced a four-step roadmap in February 2021 to steer the country out of lockdown this June, many of us were no doubt jumping for joy at the thought of ‘normal’ life - pubs, hugging, being able to see EVERYONE. Whereas others, like me, were sceptical that it might not even happen and then shock, panic – what if it does?
I really have become a big fan of loungewear and all things home related; my garden, my office being built in the garden (OK, that’s not me, but I hear they are very popular now). And boy oh boy it’s going to be flat out with all the kids’ clubs reopening. Right, I better sort myself out pronto!
But in all seriousness, I can’t remember my life before and how to be that person, who is she? I’m sure I’m not alone. It’s a big transition for all, no matter what your stance or view is on the readjustments.
According to psychologist Nadia Svirydzenka, “Going back to ‘new’ old routines will feel unusual and can even make us fearful, anxious, frustrated, angry or nervous, especially as we have moved so far from what ‘normal’ was for us before COVID”.
There are, however, tips on things you can do to make things easier. So, I want to share them with you with information sourced from those who know, the mental health charity MIND.
1. Pace yourself, it’s not a race
Recognising that you need to go at the right pace for you is important. Don’t let others bully or pressure you into doing things you don’t want to, but try not to let that be an excuse not to gently push yourself. Especially when it comes to reconnecting with friends safely, and when the time is also right for you. It can be hard to let others move forward without you – maybe your child wants to see friends but the thought of playdates is too much for you. It’s important to discuss concerns with those close to you, but also to allow other people space to move at their own pace.
2. Build up tolerance
Do something that challenges you every day, or every few days. Don’t beat yourself up if it doesn’t go well but keep at it. Keep a note of things you’ve achieved, enjoyed or surprised yourself by doing.
3. Vary your routines
Try and mix your routines so that you see different people and encounter different situations. If one supermarket makes you nervous, try another. If a walk at one time of the day is very busy, try mixing walks at busy times with walks at quieter times.
4. Focus on NOW
You can only do your best with what you have today. With restrictions changing frequently, and lots of conflicting media discussions, try and keep a focus on the moment. Mindfulness meditation is one way of bringing your mind back to the present moment. Bring things that are certain back into focus and try to record and appreciate good things as they happen alongside taking opportunities to reset and relax.
5. Talk to people you trust
It’s important to talk about how you feel. Don’t dismiss your concerns or judge yourself too harshly as others will understand how you are feeling.
Deep breath everyone and be kind to yourself as you navigate the new ‘normal’ - after all this time alone, it may just be the new improved!
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