“Seize this opportunity to move forward and make sure that whatever you’re doing makes you feel comfortable and happy”INSTAGRAM@_MAGGIESTEPHENSON_

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“Do you have any advice on transitioning to post-pandemic life? I’ve become so accustomed to lockdown that I don’t know if I’m ready to move on just yet”

We’ve been living with lockdowns and restrictions for so long now, that sometimes it’s difficult to remember exactly what life was like before the pandemic. We can’t quite imagine a world without social distancing and face coverings, and it seems unbelievable that the rules really might change soon. All the habits that have built up over the last year or so aren’t just magically going to disappear along with the restrictions. We all have some adjusting to do. I think that one of the biggest struggles facing us is the potential to be plagued by an irritating and unnecessary sense of guilt when we’re conducting our daily lives without following the rules to which we have become so accustomed. That guilt and other feelings of unease will most likely fade over time, but that doesn’t mean that you have to ignore them while they’re affecting you. Be honest about how you’re feeling, both with yourself and others. You’re not alone in your concern. Sharing your worries will help you to ease them and allow you to enjoy your post-pandemic life more.

If the imminent ending of this lockdown world is filling you with panic, try to work out which elements of the return to ‘normality’ you’re looking forward to; even if it’s only something tiny it will make you feel more positive and self-assured about the changes to come. Are you excited to go out for meals, to museums, to the cinema, to have friends over? Perhaps none of these appeals. Not to worry: if the current weather holds up, the activities that are already permitted — socialising outside, going for walks etc — will become even much more pleasant, meaning that there’s no need for drastic alterations to your lifestyle if you don’t want there to be.

“Your pre-pandemic ‘normality’ might not suit you anymore, and that’s fine”

As well as working out what you’re looking forward to, you could also think about which of your current habits you might like to keep going with. A lot of people I know have admitted to enjoying being able to keep their distance from strangers in public spaces and would prefer to maintain that as their social norm. You’re perfectly at liberty to take these changes at your own pace. Just because people are allowed to gather in huge crowds in very small spaces doesn’t mean that you have to join them. You can take responsibility for making sure that you’re comfortable with a situation.

This may well be easier said than done. You might be under immense pressure from your social circles to embrace this new freedom unquestioningly, and you could quickly find yourself feeling anxious and guilty in the middle of a crowd. As always, the important thing is to be honest. Just as with developing an awareness of your own feelings about these changes, it’s important to know what your friends and family are thinking too. Have clear discussions with the people in your life about what you’re all happy to do in a post-lockdown world; it’s very unlikely that you’ll be the only one with concerns about the lack of rules and regulations. Being aware of how everyone feels will help you to make plans that you can all be comfortable with and limit the likelihood of people being pressured into activities and situations that worry them.


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There’s a tendency to think of the end of the restrictions as an instant fix, to see the 21st of June as the day that will miraculously restore us to a pre-2020 world. The sudden nature of such an idea is part of what makes this possibility of the end of lockdown so daunting, you may feel that you’re being rushed when instead you need a moment to assess the situation and calmly work out how you want to handle it. It doesn’t have to be so dramatic. The lack of lockdown isn’t going to erase the marks that the past has left on us. Everyone has been affected in some way and we’ve all learnt different lessons, which we’ll carry with us well beyond the 21st of June.

Your pre-pandemic ‘normality’ might not suit you anymore, and that’s fine: you’ll find a new one that works for you. The lifting of restrictions is an opening up of new possibilities rather than an enforced return to the past. You can make what you want of it. Seize this opportunity to move forward and make sure that whatever you’re doing makes you feel comfortable and happy. If you can adjust to lockdown then you have shown that you can adapt to anything. Give yourself the time you need to ease into post-lockdown freedom, you’ll feel settled before you know it.