The light at the end of the tunnel is near folks! We finally got the good news we’ve all been waiting for, although a long way off yet, we now know restrictions are due to slowly ease! We’ve been waiting for what feels like an eternity for this news, but we may not all be feeling the buzz or excitement that’s spreading.
Although many of us are longing to give our loved ones a big squeeze, return to joyous pint-filled, sunny evenings in beer gardens, and having our besties pop over for a cuppa, we’re not all feeling super keen on shops and pubs reopening, children returning to school (even though we’ve spent a year whinging that they’re not), and lockdown restrictions easing. It’s quite a way off yet so slow down any normality go-getters or fearers, how long does it feel since Christmas? Because that’s about the same time we’ve got to get through before any kind of normality begins to return - so don’t panic we have time to adjust.
Help! It’s all changing again!
The simplicity caused by restrictions, for some, has given us opportunities to thrive, have more time to ourselves, with our households, slow down, reflect and maybe even time for productivity or reaching our goals. Others may be feeling bluer about it all, missing time spent doing fun things, the company of friends and family (outside our homes), or even big celebrations. Wherever we stand on the matter it has by no means been plain sailing to get here.
It’s perfectly ok to feel anxious, nervous or apprehensive. We can embrace the change, and look at the positives - there will be so many, and even more, we haven’t even considered yet, but embracing change is easier said than done, and that’s because we humans don’t like the possibility of uncertainty which is still flying around even with the good news coming in! We’ve spent the last year trying to look for positives amongst all the chaos, and now we’re leaving those behind we might not feel so eager for our old lives. So what can we do now?
Savour this time
Even though normality is on the horizon, we’re not there yet and although some might be reaching frustration by now, many of us have settled into a nice, new routine only to have it all reshuffled once again. But the horizon is distant, so savour the time we have left. Slow down and embrace the new-found comfort of our own homes. Cherish those moments of frustration because Teams kicked little Timmy out of class (again), cherish the mess, it might ease up soon and we might even remember how we ever managed to ignore it before! We don’t have to be “Positive Pete’s or Polly’s” all the time to cherish but remember to take a moment when the chaos seems unbearable, this may not come again and the time will be missed eventually - make a mental note to save for later.
Reflect on our time in lockdown, practice gratuity to help us slow down and embrace the now because change is coming. It’s totally normal to feel apprehensive, nervous or downright fearful of what’s to come with the easing, so ‘counting our blessings’ can help us stay grounded in those panic-filled moments of despair. Be grateful for the extra time watching our children grow up at home, that we may never have again or at least (hopefully) not under the same circumstances. Be grateful for our health and ability to return to work, school, the pub! Even to get a haircut, we all enjoy a little pampering from time to time and it will be just lush to have somebody else do it for us finally! We might not be feeling too grateful at times, many of us have suffered greatly in the lockdowns with mental health, losing loved ones and just feeling the FOMO (fear of missing out), if we’re having a miserable day longing to get back to normal or grieving for loved ones, that’s ok too. Practising gratitude a little when we can is good enough.
Many of us have been holding extra compassion throughout the last year, smiling more at strangers, forgiving our partners for not taking the bins out (again), and having a sneaky giggle at our children’s meltdowns or our mum’s daily facetime calls because she’s been so bored but had nothing to say each time. Keep it up, start doing it more, although there’s joy in the air the prospect of change can bring nerves, fear and anxiety so we may be feeling a little delicate or even just not ready to think about it yet. Keep smiling at strangers, keep cool when the postie leaves our packages on the doorstep only to run off leaving us questioning “was that a knock?”, “was that our door?”, and keep calm when the queues for the supermarket snake around the car park. With these nerves and worries bubbling up in many of us, try to hold a little more compassion for those declining invites, postponing meetups, and possibly thinking “it’s not time yet”. We can’t all be raring to go all of the time and we’ve been through a lot so give ourselves and others space to be ready on our own watches.
Reality Reminder: There’s excitement, joy, fear and anxiety rippling through us right now, everyone’s reaction to the news will differ. It’s totally ok to not be over-the-top excited, and it’s totally ok to be wishing the time away. Soon we’ll all be back in the beer gardens laughing about the ridiculous things we got up to, to stave off the boredom in the last year - like investing in the dog’s wardrobe for him to perform a catwalk in the living room!