It might have been labelled ‘freedom day’ but that is not how it feels to me. I’m anxious about getting back out in the world, and not being able to trust people are taking the same precautions as me, because we no longer have to.
When others have different views
It is hard to recognise that other people may view the situation differently or have different comfort zones on how they want to be. I can end up assuming everyone thinks the same as me. But sometimes you need to remember that they don’t and that is okay. We might all be in the same situation, but don’t assume people know how you feel about restrictions lifting. Talk to them ahead of time, so you are all comfortable.
I think that’s the biggest tip, as with most situations, keep an open dialogue. This is more true the ever as I start to meet friends or go to places with bigger groups. I am making an effort to ask others how they feel and putting no shame on whatever restrictions we all need to feel comfortable. Whether that is meeting outside, wearing masks, going at less crowded times of day or any other compromises.
Take small steps not no steps
I also recognise that for my anxiety I can’t not do anything. I am nervous about getting back out, but staying in is not a solution. In the long run, I know this will make my anxiety even harder to handle. Instead, I try to make doable goals and small steps.
It’s all about priorities. So for me, I think about people, I really want to see and how I could make that happen, even if that involves travelling across the country. I can feel myself immediately get anxious and think ‘I can’t do that’. Then I take a breath and I ask what would make me feel able to do that? Often it is, setting the location ahead of time, and bringing my mask. It might also be, saying to whoever I am meeting that if it gets too crowded, I want to leave.
Control what you can
After the 19 July what places will be like in terms of restrictions seem less obvious and more varied. It can make it harder to know how busy places will be or where I might feel comfortable.
Just because legally places do not have to have restrictions, many have expressed that will continue to do so. Therefore, I know researching ahead of time will help me feel more in control. That might even mean making an awkward phone call to venue about their but in the long run it will help me feel comfortable going out to places.
There is no right way to be feeling. This is new territory for everyone, be open to others and recognise others might have similar reactions or they might not. All you need to do is ask.
Need more support?
If you are struggling with restrictions lifting, our Wellbeing Check-in service offers weekly phone calls to talk these feelings through and find some next steps. If you need to talk to someone now, text Shout on 85258 or phone Samaritans on 116 123.