On 23rd March 2020, the UK went into lockdown.
The whole nation were instructed to stay at home, all non-essential travel and contact with other people was stopped, and many schools, businesses and gathering places were forced to close their premises, with many people told to work from home, or furloughed.
The pandemic changed all of our lives radically.
Since January this year, there has been a 'roadmap out of lockdown' and from Monday 17th May 2021 lockdown restrictions will ease once again, allowing many businesses to reopen, with pubs, bars, retail, and leisure re-opening fully, and further restrictions lifted on household mixing and travel.
For many this will bring positivity, hope and excitement as we enter the next phase of a 'new normal'.
For many others however, there will be feelings of uncertainty, fear, hesitancy and anxiety, as we are still a long way away from 'normality'.
Perhaps it is a time to reflect and remember that not everyone is the same.
Whether you are a family member, a friend or an employer, it is important to listen and understand everyone's thoughts and feelings and how they feel as we all navigate our way out of lockdown.
Just because the guidelines say we can now 'hug' one another again, not everyone is going to be ready for close contact. Being mindful that there are many who have been vaccinated, but some who have not yet been vaccinated yet. Others will be in the 'vulnerable' category, or looking after vulnerable family members, and still wanting to protect themselves and others around them.
It is a time to allow each of us to exercise our own personal judgements in line with the risks depending on our own individual circumstances. We are still being advised to urge caution, and not to 'rush' this phase of the easing of lockdown, remembering also that it takes time to understand the impact of each step.
It is a difficult time as many employers will want all of their employees back into the office, families will want to see each other and arrange larger gatherings and clubs and societies will want to organise functions and events.
Remembering at all times, that everyone can make informed, personal decisions depending on their own circumstances and personal situation, and enabling them also to manage their own mental health as they consider how they think and feel, and manage the range of confusing emotions during this next period of lockdown easing.
Any close contact carries a risk, and it is a time to remember we are not all the same and each of us will consider the risk to themselves and others. There are still COVID-secure rules in many public spaces, workplaces and businesses.
During Mental Health week we are encouraging everyone to take time to reflect on the last 12 months, and what was their 'normality' before Covid-19 and how their life has changed. What do you notice as you are discussing with friends, family, employers and other contacts about the roadmap out of lockdown.
Being aware of the many difficult emotions you may be feeling or experiencing at this time may be useful, some of these are listed below;
- Loss of control
Take time to sit down and write (journal) about how you are feeling. Allow yourself to speak to your family, friends or employers about how you are feeling, and allow yourself to be heard. If you are the one listening, ensure you remember that none of us are the same and it is important that we are all going at our own pace.
Getting support with your mental health as you navigate your own way through the next stage of the easing of lockdown restrictions is not a sign of weakness, it is completely the opposite. Speaking to one of our Counsellors at Therapy Centre Services can help you to talk through your thoughts and feelings, build resilience and look after your mental health.
You can self-refer through our website www.therapycentreservices.com/selfreferral