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As the UK begins to ease lockdown measures and life begins to return to a new normal, what is the next step?

Unfortunately for many there is still a lot of uncertainty. I know many therapists who were counting on being allowed to open on 4th July like hairdressers, who are now having to make very difficult decisions about the future of their business. 

This next step feels uncertain and for many is inducing more anxiety than going into lockdown. 

We have spent months being told it isn’t safe to go out, that we mustn’t see other people apart from for essential errands and now suddenly we are able to go to the pub or go clothes shopping and many are very wary.

You see the problem with deeply imprinting a message that we have to stay at home to stay safe, is that, we all then immediately feel unsafe leaving our homes.

Most people are aware of the powerful impact of NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) and affirmations now. We understand that repeating a message or hearing a message repeated many times imprints on our unconscious mind and can be life changing.

Unfortunately that means that “Stay Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives” the government’s lockdown message to the UK population, is now so firmly imprinted that many people are now feeling uneasy, and unsafe, leaving their homes. 

If you are reading this then chances are you are more than familiar with this phenomenon.

What can we do to make this next step easier?

Well, there are lots of things, from research to energy protection. I’ll go through a few things that I am personally using to help me cope with this next step to normality.

Rationalise 

This is almost the opposite of the advice I would usually be giving but do some careful research from sources such as WHO. We have been bombarded with statistics during this pandemic which isn’t particularly helpful. Imagine if everytime we turned on the news we were told how many people had died in the UK today. We would all be living in a permanent state of fear.  Look carefully at the statistics. Often they can be more reassuring than you might imagine. 

Take sensible precautions

Continue to wash your hands regularly, avoid large gatherings and generally take the advice we are being given to make sensible judgment calls. If you feel unsafe going somewhere and you don’t absolutely have to go, then stay at home. If you have to go to the shop, hospital etc then wear a mask or face covering. 

We are all longing for time with loved ones and a good hair cut but if your intuition is saying “wait a bit longer” then listen to that. 

Breathe 

Many people who struggle with anxiety notice a dramatic change in their breathing. Given the respiratory nature of the current pandemic, and the necessity to wear a mask on occasion, this can then be esculated in our minds to a frightening level. Be aware of your breathing. Use a simple breathing technique such as 7-11 breathing (breathing in for a count of 7 and out for a count of 11) to regulate your breathing if you begin to feel anxious. Having something to smell, such as an essential oil on a tissue can also be helpful in regulating your breathing.                 

Avoid watching the news 

This advice may appear to contradict the first tip but there is a difference between educating yourself and being bombarded with what often feels like propaganda. It also means that you can choose to research the important facts when you are feeling emotionally strong, not all day every day. For the most part if you are on social media you can pick up everything you need to as far as announcements and key facts.  

Meditate 

Meditation is a great way to calm your body and mind. It doesn’t have to be for longm just 5-10 minutes meditation is enough to make a dramatic impact on your wellbeing.  

If you are new to meditation there are some wonderful apps such as Headspace, which can be a gret introduction to the practice. If you would like to learn more about meditation or book an introductory session with me have a look at my meditation page

Get mindful

Finding ways to be incorporate mindfulness into your day is another great way to ease anxiety. Mindfulness is not a complex practice, it is simply the art of being completely present while you are doing anything. It may be washing up, gardening, playing golf, walking to the shops. Whatever you choose to do, being 100% present means you are doing it mindfully. By not allowing your mind to be constantly racing and thinking about a million things at once you will give your mind time to process everything it is already working through. If you would like to learn to be more mindful and how you can incorporate these life changing but simple techniques into your life find out more here.  

 

“My philosophy is worrying means you suffer twice – Newt Scamander”

JK Rowling

Author, Fantastic Beasts

There are many uncertainties at the moment, but one thing is certain, worrying won’t solve anything. 

Easier said than done, I know.

It is important to regain some perspective as you take this next step. To stop and think about all the things you would miss if we continued to live in isolation. It may be that you have enjoyed the extra time with our children or time to get on top of jobs at home. Perhaps you have enjoyed the fact you were able to work from home, or maybe you have rediscovered a hobby you didn’t have time for. It has been a time of self discovery for many people. As a population we have learned many lessons too. We have consumed less, gardened more, travelled less and repaired more, spent less but appreciated more. It is important to try and take these lessons with us as the restrictions on our lives ease and we take the next step into this brave new world. 

Life will continue to be different for a while yet but if we are sensible and make choices which reduce the risk of a second wave we can begin to send time with our families and friends again. More people can return to work, which will ease the financial fears many have at the moment (in addition to all the other anxieties).  Whatever your circumstances I hope you are safe and well, that you feel secure and loved and that you feel strong enough to deal with this next step. Remember, you are stronger and braver than you will ever believe, you’ve got this!

 

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