by Sarah Halfpenny
- Take your time easing back into the ‘new normal’ once lockdown has lifted. Don’t feel pressured into anything that doesn’t feel right to you. Do the things that will make you feel COVID-safe, like wearing a mask, social distancing and sanitising your hands, even if it feels like nobody else is doing it. Rushing back into too many social events with large crowds could leave you feeling anxious and burnt out. Slow and steady will help avoid what’s now called a ‘social hangover’.
- By the same token, don’t avoid socialising – loneliness is one of the biggest struggles of the pandemic, so reconnecting with family and friends face-to-face is vital for your happiness. Making small plans with the people you’ve missed most will give you the all-important reason to get out of bed each day.
- Prioritise your mental and physical health. Express your emotions in some form or other – write, talk, paint, dance or create! Although eating out will feel like a novelty, make sure you don’t overindulge. Eat well and exercise daily to improve your immune system, heart health and mental wellbeing. Now is also the perfect time to reduce screen time – get out into the sunshine and fresh air!
- Do the things you enjoy, no matter how small. Go to the movies, get engrossed in a good book, do the crossword puzzle, visit the hairdresser or do some gardening. Some of these might be activities you do on your own and that’s okay too – not everyone has to be a social butterfly just because lockdown has ended.
- Establish your old routines again. Humans are creatures of habit, so a routine will give you a sense of control when the future seems uncertain. Activities as simple as getting back to doing your weekly shopping at the local shopping centre, having the family over for Sunday lunch, rejoining a club or signing up to a new class can help you feel grounded as we look to life in 2022 and beyond.