By Gin Lalli
It's what we've all been waiting for - some light at the end of the tunnel. Just hoping and wishing that it would all be over and we can go back to 'normal.' That all of this can become a distant memory and we can get on with our lives.
The thing is, we need to be ready for what's coming if and when we come out of lockdown. Optimism is great but we need to be realistic with it too. That's actually what being positive is about; to be in more intelligent brain control means that we are rational and objective, that helps us to deal with any challenge that we are faced with.
So in order to maintain mental health, we need to understand what lies before us. Here are my tips to ensure that you come out of this feeling emotionally resilient.
Get all the information
Don't rely on what your neighbours or friends (or 'Karen for Facebook') are doing. Make sure you follow government, NHS and scientific guidelines for what is best. Be bold about following rules that YOU are comfortable with in order to protect you and your family. It takes confidence to do that so take some time to think about what you want to do. Start working on your confidence now. Once you have made your decision, with the correct information from reliable sources these are the reasons you can give to anyone who questions why you are doing things your way. It's called integrity.
If you think intelligently you can safely assume that we are not going back to 'normal' overnight. Also, it will be a while before we are doing ALL the things we consider normal. We'll be taking small steps to lift the confines of how we've been living for the past 8 weeks so don't go crazy all at once. The brain sees any sort of change as an error so go slowly, taking small steps, making small changes to your routine to begin with and see how you feel about that.
This is a virus that still has unknown properties. We don't know if there will be a second wave (although all the science predicts this is highly likely). What we do now will make a difference in how we go forward.
You can change your mind
Remember that you are changing your routine once again, it will feel strange at first you may feel uncomfortable. Take some time to get used to it, stop and refocus your emotions and then try again. Personally, I'm concerned about how many people will be out and about, and how I will maintain social distancing. I plan on doing small walks to begin with to 'test the water,' but I may also stay in for a few days if it gets too much for me. Keep your options open.
Don't negatively forecast the future
Don't predict how you think it will go, what may or may not happen. We don't know yet, we've never tried it before. Take it one day at a time. I'm sure we will get continuous results and feedback on how we are progressing. It is a giant experiment of sorts.
Be prepared for a second lockdown
From everything I've read a second lockdown is highly likely, if not soon then maybe when we go into autumn/winter. This is just an understanding of the science behind how this virus is changing and mutating. I suppose what I'm saying is enjoy the feeling of a little more freedom but understand that we may need to lockdown again. What have you learned already to be more prepared for a second lockdown? You've been through this once so you will be able to do it again.
I hope that some of these tips will help you to get prepared for what lies before us. Overall it's about taking it one small step at a time and obtaining the correct information. We really are all in this together and we will come through to the other side.
Gin Lalli firstname.lastname@example.org
Gin Lalli is a Solution Focused Therapist specialising in anxiety, depression, stress and sleep. She is based in Edinburgh, Scotland
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