I’m sure we can all agree that the last year has been a little bit strange! Living under lockdown restrictions has become the ‘new norm’… so much so, we often find ourselves shocked at just how much we’ve adjusted to this new way of life. So it’s not surprising that as things started opening up again this week, many of us have felt a little lost.
If that is you, that is totally OK. It has been a super hard year, and it’s possible to look forward to things opening again, but at the same time be occasionally overwhelmed! At Martha Brook, we’ve been speaking a lot about how we’re feeling this week, so we wanted to share some self-kindness tips to help as lockdown eases.
Go at your own pace, not someone else’s timeline
Take each day as it comes. Even though the shops are re-opening and you can now dine outside, this doesn’t mean you have to! Try not to pressure yourself to rush into anything that you’re not quite ready for. Go at the pace that is right for you.
Whilst someone else might want to have a pint AND get their haircut AND nails done all in one day, that might not be right for you. Follow your own timeline, and don’t feel bad about doing it!
Don’t let others make you feel like it’s wrong not to do things
You may feel happy and excited that you can now go for a drink with friends or pop to see family you’ve not seen in ages, but it’s also OK if the thought of socialising makes you feel anxious. Our brains have been high alert scanning for a year, which doesn’t just switch off, so you might feel nervous or find that socialising is more tiring than pre-pandemic.
Know that you don’t need to say ‘yes’ to every invite straight away or rush to fill your social calendar. Remember our first tip, go at your own pace and only agree to do what you feel up for doing. It’s OK to say ‘no’ and re-adjust to being out in the world again, don’t let anyone make you feel guilty about that.
Keep parts of your daily routine that made you feel good.
Acknowledge the positive aspects of lockdown that made you feel good. Maybe you enjoyed that daily walk! Did you try something new that you’ve always wanted to? Or perhaps you finally read that book you’ve been meaning to read? The slower pace of life gave us the time to reflect and try different things that brought some happiness.
Make a list of the parts you want to remember to continue doing when life picks up a bit. Just because lockdown is easing doesn’t mean you can’t continue with them, and keeping some continuity will help you look after yourself.
Don’t put pressure on yourself to match other’s social media lives
Ahh, social media! We all know it can be just a highlight of the best bits because it’s easy to edit out the bad, but we’re all guilty of falling into the comparison trap from time to time. One of the best bits about lockdown was having less FOMO because everyone was suddenly in the same boat. Now lockdown is easing; it can be easy to see other peoples’ perfectly curated images and feel lonely if you aren’t doing the same.
Remember, some people will always share what they’re doing more so than others, and a quieter feed does not represent a boring life! If any accounts make you feel pressurised, anxious or rubbish about yourself, simply unfollow or mute. In fact, if you think you need a break from social media entirely, delete that app!
Talk to those closest to you and share how you are feeling
When we think about lockdown easing and adapting to these new measures, it’s totally understandable to feel uneasy or anxious. We can guarantee from chats in our team that whatever you are feeling, someone else will be feeling something similar! Be open with your friends and family and let them know where you’re at, so they can support you and help you in any way they can.
Lockdown easing is also an opportunity to get in touch with friends you haven’t heard from in a while. Many of us have chatted more online than ever before over the last year – Zoom quiz, anyone?! But for some people, the first thing that happens when they’re feeling anxious is to retreat and take a step back. Remember, everyone copes differently, and those friends may just need some kindness right now too.
Keep boundaries to protect your own headspace
One of the most important things we talked about in lockdown was self-care and looking after yourself. It’s important to remember that learning to say ‘no’ is just as important as saying ‘yes’. You might feel overwhelmed with invites after a year going without, so it’s essential to set your own boundaries and know it’s OK to ask for space and time.
Take it slow, one day at a time. There’s no race to do everything, and taking care of yourself is the priority!
Remember, there is no right way to feel. You are doing OK!
No matter what, it has been the most challenging year for all of us. Be mindful that everyone’s experience of the pandemic was different, so it might take some of us longer to adjust, and that’s perfectly normal!
There’s no guide to what we should be feeling right now, there’s no right or wrong answer. There’s just what you are feeling and knowing that you’re OK! Please remember to go easy, only do what you’re ready for and be kind to yourself.
P.S. We’ve made a little graphic for you to save to your phone to read whenever you need it! Sending love for however you’re feeling and a reminder that it is 100% valid. Take each day as it comes and do what’s best for you x