For over a year now the world’s magnifying glass has been on the danger of the outside world. We have been ordered by law to stay home and save lives. To wash our hands, to wear our masks, to go near nobody, or risk our own safety as well as the health of our loved ones and strangers.
It is no wonder then that this narrative of imminent danger has left some of us shaken. Sure, this message may have helped keep those initially unwilling to stay inside and follow the rules, but for those who are already on alert this near scaremongering has left its scars.
the notion that was once a lifeline may also feel like the next big threat
Over the past several months, sitting alone and frightened, the thought of the world returning to normal was a gentle comfort in the darker days to carry on pushing. But now, as the world begins to heal and open back up, the notion that was once a lifeline may also feel like the next big threat.
It is totally normal to feel this way, and definitely not as a rare as you might assume. It is okay to take your time to shift back into your old headspace. The ‘new’ world is no more dangerous than the one we used to live in, back then it just wasn’t headline news when you woke up with a sore throat.
To counteract the anxious thoughts of threat it is important to rationalise. Focus on the good – we have a vaccine, hospitals know more and have space to help the sick, over 100 million people have recovered from the disease. Things truly are going in the right direction.
But this does not mean you have to rush, and you do not have to do anything that you are not comfortable with. Whilst we have all been in the same storm, we have all been in different boats. Some people have felt the atrocity of this pandemic far closer to home than others.
Before rushing back to the pub on April 12th with your friends, ask if they would like to have a drink with you first in your garden. Starting with a controlled environment can help lessen the shock for when you decide you’re ready for a more public setting.
remember that you are entitled to enjoy yourself as the rules ease
Watching friends meet up and be carefree can be difficult to see if you have followed the rules strictly from the start. Remember that you have done the right thing and you have helped keep others safe. But also remember that you are entitled to enjoy yourself as the rules ease too, you can have fun safely and soon there will be virtually no risk in joining your friends.
If you struggle with hypochondria or health anxiety, the constant worrying over whether you, or those around you, feel unwell can be draining and quite frankly traumatic. Whilst it may not benefit you to feed these ideas, if it would put you at ease, the government are allowing everyone to have two free rapid COVID tests a week. The extra reassurance might help to settle your worries.
Most importantly, remember you are not alone. There are millions around the globe who are feeling just like you. The possibility of the end of this pandemic is a wonderful thing, but that does not mean it is not daunting. If you need someone to talk to there are numerous helplines out there to offer guidance and support.
The world will be waiting for you when you are ready, and in your own time.
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