Lockdown, though necessary to contain the initial spread of Covid-19, was hard for a lot of people. In most parts of the UK now, (and in some other parts of the world, too), restrictions are starting to ease and we’re now entering a different phase, a slightly revised ‘normal’.
Whilst these changes are extremely welcome for some – particularly those whose income has been adversely affected and who are now able to resume work – for others, this brings a new level of anxiety in terms of deciding which activities feel safe to resume, and which don’t.
In many ways, full lockdown is easier and clearer to navigate in terms of understanding what we each can and can’t do. It removes most of the element of choice and individual decision-making. Now we’re starting to have to consider different possibilities and to interpret advice and rules which are, to many of us, less clear cut.
My work is a good example with the BACP current advice still being to carry on working with our clients remotely if we can, rather than going straight back to full face-to-face/in person contact. But some clients and therapists really miss being in a room together and feel a pull to return to that – perhaps before either feel properly ready or safe to do so.
The recent news articles re the use of masks vs no masks in different work and client/customer contact environments and current thinking re how long the virus droplets stay in the air (some say up to 3 hours?) don’t make these decisions any easier. Should we be sticking to the 2 metre distancing in our therapy rooms or is it safe to reduce to 1 metre if we have good ventilation? What about any droplets in the air from previous sessions in that room?
I’m continuing to work remotely for now – with only a very few (low risk) exceptions for the sake of my own health (I’m over 60 so, according to medical advice, my immune system is starting to wind down) as well as for my clients. But I know I’m fortunate in so far as I can work from home and meet with my clients and supervisees online – and I can deliver training online, too. Not all jobs are this flexible.
So, how are you feeling?
Are you enjoying/adjusting to having more freedom to work and to socialise within slightly more relaxed parameters?
Do you still feel fearful in certain situations?
If you’ve been shielding, then coming out of lockdown may not even seem appropriate since the overall risk is still there – and you may be feeling anxious.
You may benefit from help with some of this – from a trusted friend/family member, or a professional – and it’s nothing to feel ashamed about – we all need help from time to time, myself included. I’ve been talking through my next steps (professionally and personally) with my own friends and colleagues.
Whatever you do decide to do, I’ve also found that now feels like a good time to recap on some of the good ideas about looking after ourselves that emerged before and during lockdown, and which are worth hanging on to.
I like Amy Fleming’s article in the Guardian online: ‘Walk this way! How to optimise your stride and focus your mind to get the most from your daily stroll’.
Also, from a podcast I really like, too: ‘Jon Richardson and the Futurenauts: Episode 1′:
Boost your immune system by treating yourself well and kindly:
- Reduce stress where you can
- Have a laugh
- Eat healthily
- Get enough sleep
- Nurture something (such as a pot plant)
Consider, instead of ‘to do’ lists, creating ‘to care’ lists – focusing on who or what it is that you want to care about/spend your time on.
They also recap on some of the excellent advice that has been doing the rounds recently – such as asking ourselves these six questions on a daily basis:
- What am I grateful for today?
- Who am I connecting with and checking in with today?
- What expectations of normal am I letting go of today?
- How am I getting outside today?
- How am I moving my body today?
- What beauty am I creating or inviting in today?
These helped me re-assess my own daily routine recently and, I think, forms a very useful ongoing checklist.
Finally, for some other ideas, you might want to take a look at some of my previous blogs:
Be kind to yourselves, everyone.