For way over a year now, we’ve been patiently waiting for life as we once knew it to return. Whether you’ve missed nights out the most, catching up with friends in a café, or even just being able to visit home whenever you want, it’s looking like we’ll soon be back to doing all that! However, as exciting as all this is, some of us may be starting to feel a bit anxious about the sudden return to big crowds, no social distancing, and socialising with loads of people at once. With this in mind, here are some of our top tips to help you ease any post-lockdown anxieties.
Masked up and ready to go
While I’m no expert on this, I know exactly how I’m starting to feel about the gradual changes to what we’ve come to see as the ‘new normal’, as well as what I’ve been doing to reassure myself.
Whether you’ve had to isolate with COVID yet or not, you probably have the same thing on your mind as me – what if I catch COVID in the club? None of us has a spare two weeks lying around, especially as we approach summer, but unfortunately, it’s a very real possibility that you may catch the virus and have to isolate with your household. It’s important to remember, though, that it will probably be that everyone there will have had to show a negative test on their entry to the club. Similarly, whenever you go out eating and drinking, you’ll have to scan the track and trace code for the restaurant. I find this quite reassuring to know there are measures in place for if there is an outbreak anywhere I’ve visited.
The fear of isolation
It can be quite stressful thinking about how the actual two weeks isolation would be. When my household was hit with COVID we mostly isolated together for two weeks with the exception of one housemate who isolated in her own room. We had decided that because all of us had it, we may as well come together and spend isolation with each other instead of trapped in our own rooms. I quite enjoyed the isolation to be fair we managed to make it fun by doing different activities like learning how to play poker, having a BBQ one night and the occasional drinking night. Alternatively, if you know you’d be isolating on your own in your bedroom, then why not put a bit of time into making your personal space somewhere that you would want to spend a lot of time, invest in it and make it a calming place to be.
That way, while it would still be a strange two weeks, you would be in a safe and positive environment.
Little did we know…
Ease into it
For the past year, the most crowded place you’ve been is probably your uni kitchen at teatime, and as bad as that is, the thought of being in an actual crowded space probably seems even more overwhelming than that at the moment. With the return to normality getting closer and closer, the thought of being in crowded places is getting more and more real. If you’re finding that this is beginning to worry you quite a bit, why not start easing yourself into situations that would have seemed normal pre-2020. How about starting with a shopping trip to Primark (admittedly it isn’t as busy as it used to be, but it’s a start), to get used to being in a busy yet controlled environment with lots of strangers. Then maybe a trip to Concert Square one evening, which again isn’t necessarily crowded, but you would be in a place with lots of other people. Also, if you are worried about being out in the world again, don’t feel like you need to book yourself into lots of places just because everyone else is, go at your own pace with what you feel is right.
Getting dressed up again
Something I’m finding difficult is going back to busy days full of activities, given that for the last year the most we were allowed to do was go for a walk or our big shop. I’m now used to having a nice leisurely day of online university, where I change from my night-time pyjamas to my daytime pyjamas and then back again in the evening. However, some of the days I’ve been having lately have involved actual suitable for in public clothes, as I’ve been leaving the house a lot more. Whether you’ve been going out for bottomless brunch or a quick clothes shop, you’ve got to admit it’s all somehow more exhausting than it used to be! If, like me, you’re finding it all tiring, don’t push yourself to do too much at once, perhaps build up to doing a bit more every day.
A roaring twenties social, before the twenties really began to roar
Hopefully, we’ve managed to ease some of your worries about the easing of lockdown restrictions, so that you can go out and make some memories after a year in and out of lockdowns!