It’s here, the day that a lot of us have been waiting for, the day when we go out to the pub again, the day when we can eat in a restaurant again… but a lot of people are feeling anxious about that. If you aren’t sure what you want to be doing, here is my advice on how to handle your fear of going out again, as we ease out of lockdown.
1. Know that just because your friends are doing it, doesn’t mean that YOU have to.
The biggest point that I would like to get across in this post, is that just because everyone else is doing it, it doesn’t mean that YOU have to. You are in control of your own life, your actions, when and how you do things. If you don’t feel ready to go to the pub yet, then say no thank you. If that is something that you struggle with, then it might be time to work on your boundaries.
2. Let people know how you are feeling and what your limits are.
If you do decide to go back out as we ease out of lockdown, then decide on what you feel comfortable with and let your friends and family know about that. For example, you will go but you want to sit two metres apart from everybody and wear a mask, even if you are indoors. You don’t want to hug people yet, you still want to keep your distance, but you will happily go for a drink again.
Setting clear boundaries will mean that you don’t need to worry about what ifs, and you feel more confident in what will and won’t be happening.
3. Know that your fear of going out again is very normal and is almost to be expected. We went through a LOT during lockdown.
You are allowed to feel anxious, nervous, you are entitled to feel fear of going out again as we ease out of lockdown. You have been through a LOT and to some extent, some form of trauma is NORMAL, We don’t know what it will feel like, we can’t know if we will go back to how things used to be, or we are stuck with a new normal until we get out there and try things.
Be okay with not being okay and that instantly makes things feel ‘kind of alright again’. You don’t have to know what things will feel like, you cannot know if things will run smoothly, but what you can be sure of, is that if at any point something does not feel right for you, you can politely say bye, get back up and go home again.
Quick Exercise: If you do find yourself panicking when you are out and your fear is just too much for you, take a penny with you, place it on the table and then concentrate your focus on it. Notice how when you focus intently on it, everything else around you and outside of you almost vanishes. Keep your focus on the penny, and now focus on your breathing simultaneously. Breathe in for the count of 7, hold it for the count for the count of 4, then breathe out for the count of 7. Keep doing this whilst looking at the penny and centre yourself for as long as you need to.
Once you have done this, assess where your fear levels are at. Have they reduced? If so then you know that you have this tool to take out with you as and when you need to. Who knew that a simple penny could be so powerful!?
Take it steady, do things in your own time, choose to head out for perhaps ONE HOUR, lay down your ‘ground rules’, and do things in a way that you feel comfortable with. Most of all, try to enjoy the time that you are out, it’s been a long time for everybody and we could all do with feeling a bit like our old selves again.
I can’t wait to hear about what you get up to and if you are out today, let me know in the comments, and I will speak to you again next week.
Have a lovely Monday!