How to ease yourself out of lockdown

If you’re feeling anxious about the future, and restrictions lifting, Felicity Pryke gives her top tips on how to take things at your own pace

CREDIT: This is an edited version of an article that originally appeared on Happiful

The government’s announcement of a roadmap out of lockdown was met with initial jubilation throughout the media – and my Facebook feed. Haircuts! Pubs! But as the weeks have progressed, I have seen more people admit to feeling like I do; there is more than a little anxiety about the move back to a ‘normal’ life.

As a yoga teacher, self-enquiry is my starting point of everything so if, like me, you’re not jumping for joy, take a moment to check in with why that might be. Is it fear? If so, what are you afraid of? Are you feeling like a bit of a hermit, and worried about being sociable again? Are you scared of catching the virus yourself? Maybe 2020 had some fantastic positives you don’t want to lose? Or perhaps life before March 2020 wasn’t all that great for you. Whatever the answer might be, don’t judge yourself. There are no wrong answers. Enquire with curiosity and even a sense of fun.

Once you have a better idea of where you are, here are a few tips to help you ease out of lockdown.

Take one step at a time

The cautious phases of the UK roadmap really help you here. Take note of what’s allowed at each level and make that equally cautious step yourself. Switch your thinking; you’re taking each step along with everyone else; you’re not alone in this new journey.

Focus on the now

Don’t think, and overthink, too far ahead; things can and will change. There’s no point in panicking about June in May when June in June might look very different! Focus on where we are right now and taking one step at a time.

What lights you up?

It could be people, places or activities. Don’t think about the things that worry you, concentrate on what excites you. Is it finally seeing your family or friends (I really do miss hugs!)? Missing your favourite getaway? Maybe it genuinely is a night down the pub that you are looking forward to! Whenever you feel a little anxious, switch your attention to how amazing those moments will be.

Don’t feel you have to go back to the ‘old normal’

For many of us some incredible positives have come out of lockdown. I have absolutely loved teaching yoga online, and many of my clients are also very happy to continue yoga in the comfort of their own homes! Weekly Zoom chats have brought me closer to friends and family, despite us not seeing each other for months. Working from home has saved so many people time and money on travel.

You can keep your new habits, hobbies and ways of living as we move forward into the next phase of our lives.

Find another ‘new normal’

Life has changed, and so have you. Don’t put pressure on yourself to ‘have fun’ in ways that aren’t fun for you any more – don’t let other people put pressure on you either. This is an amazing time to discover new enthusiasms, joys and passions.

Most importantly, be kind to yourself. BE yourself. You don’t have to do what anyone else is doing and you shouldn’t feel bullied into anything you’re not comfortable with. However, remember that engaging with other humans is essential for our happiness; we are sociable creatures, and reconnecting with the world is beneficial for everyone’s mental health.

Take it slow and steady, and enjoy every moment as we slowly emerge, blinking back into the light.

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