It is becoming increasingly likely that the so called ‘Freedom Day’ will go ahead, as planned, on July 19th. On this date which is, I should say, less than two weeks away, England is set to return to normality, with all remaining lockdown measures lifting. This is welcome news for many people who have been affected by coronavirus and its restrictions for well over a year now. However, for some people, the prospect of ‘Freedom Day’ does not prompt feelings of excitement as it is expected to do, but feelings of fear.
The reality is, there will be many people who experience such feelings of fear. For those people, as I am sure there will be at least one of you reading this, I want you to know that you are not alone in how you feel- there are lots of people who can sympathise with you. I also want you to know, whoever and wherever you are, that you have no reason to feel guilty for how you’re feeling.
I don’t think anyone has the right to dismiss the feelings of uneasiness that other people have surrounding the lifting of lockdown measures, because, the fact is, we have been in lockdown, of some form, for over a year. In that year, we have been told to isolate and distance ourselves wherever possible. We are therefore transitioning from having such strict rules implemented on us, to the complete relaxation of all restrictions in the name of ‘Freedom Day.’ Such a stark change will, undoubtedly, cause people to feel slightly apprehensive about the sudden shift in life as we now know it. I know that I for one certainly feel apprehensive. I don’t mind admitting that I am nervous about life returning to ‘normal.’ Regardless of the fact that I have no underlying health problems that put me at an increased risk of falling ill with coronavirus, and that I have been vaccinated, I still feel fearful. Why? Because I have become so accustomed to a new way of living that a part of me, quite a big part of me if I’m being honest, feels a bit ‘uneasy’ about the sudden transition back to ‘normality.’
You see, I have gone without socialising for what feels like forever, and, as someone who had pre-existing anxiety before the pandemic anyway, covid and the subsequent effects of lockdown have only served to intensify my anxiety. I worry that I won’t know how to socialise when we are told we can again. Having spent so long with only the company of my family, being able to go wherever I want to go and see whoever I want to see is a very big thing, and, as I’m sure many people will agree, is something that, in many ways, feels overwhelming.
To prevent myself from feeling so overwhelmed with all the changes that are due to take place, I have been reminding myself, and I write this article today to remind you, that just because all restrictions are being lifted in two weeks, that doesn’t mean you have to do everything. Take your time. It will all be there waiting for you when you feel ready. And if you don’t feel ready for a while, that’s okay. Just do what feels right for you. If that means going out every night to nightclubs, then good for you, but if it means staying in and spending time with your close friends and family, then that is perfectly fine too. We need to avoid being so quick to judge people, for you never know what is going on in their life to prompt their feelings of uncertainty.
So, lets look forward to July 19th and the colossal milestone that the date represents, but let’s not impose our feelings of excitement onto everyone. Instead, let people live how they want to live, showing consideration and kindness rather than being so quick to judge.
I hope that you hang on to that thought, that you remember the power of kindness, and I hope that you choose to direct that kindness not only to others, but to yourself as well. You deserve it. After the unprecedented times we’ve been having, we all deserve it.