From 19 July in England, it's expected that wearing a face covering will become voluntary, social distancing will be removed, and the government's instruction to work from home where possible will be lifted. These changes are due to be confirmed on 12 July.
After months of change and restrictions, the impending relaxation of COVID-19 measures is likely to bring mixed feelings. While some people might feel excited and relieved, others will take a more cautious approach. The way you feel can change from day to day too. We’re all finding our way, and we’ve put together a few tips that we hope will help you manage this next phase.
I feel anxious about the changes ahead
Any change can bring stress and anxiety – it’s a natural response to a new situation, particularly one that feels overwhelming. We’re all in a state of transition and adjustment, and while no one knows for certain what lies ahead, you can find ways to manage.
Give yourself time to think about what feels right to you, even if others take a different approach. While it’s often easier said than done, remember that there’ll always be differences in thought, feeling and opinion.
- Try to pinpoint what it is that you feel uneasy about. Sometimes, feeling unsettled is a general feeling and it’s not always easy to link it to specific things. It’s also understandable that you’d feel generally uncertain after such ongoing and frequent change that is beyond your control. Giving some thought as to what might be at the root of this can help to take some of the power out of it. You could talk it through with someone you’re close to or get in touch with our helpline team.
- Come up with a plan. Think about how you’d like to go forwards in your day-to-day life. For example, you might want to continue to wear a mask and to socially distance after the government say it’s no longer a requirement. People make different choices, partly depending on individual experiences before and during the pandemic, health factors and personality. There’s no right or wrong.
- Find ways to manage stress and anxiety. Following a healthy lifestyle can have a significant impact on your overall sense of wellbeing. This includes eating well, getting enough sleep and taking exercise – even a gentle walk can help. Make time to do the things you find enjoyable and relaxing, particularly if the easing of lockdown restrictions has quickened the general pace of life for you.
- Talk to someone about how you’re feeling. Living with and beyond lymphoma can be a continual process of adjustment, and this is a time that brings further change. Our helpline team is here for you to help you process your thoughts and feelings. You might also consider a talking therapy such as counselling. Speak to your GP or find more information on the NHS website.
Family and friends
You might worry about the impact of lockdown restrictions easing on your relationships, particularly if their feelings and approaches differs to yours. The important thing is to go at your own pace and to do what feels OK for you.
For example, you’re invited to a family dinner, which you feel uncomfortable with but you don’t want to upset anybody.
- Think about what would feel OK with you. For example, an outdoor meeting or indoors, distanced with windows open.
- Be honest with family and friends about how you feel. This can minimise the risk of people feeling hurt or offended. Let them know that you really appreciate the offer but that you need some time to adjust.
You might be interested in our general tips on communicating with the people around you.
Some people feel worried that friendships won’t feel the same after such a long time apart. You might find that, with some people, it actually feels quite smooth after a first catch-up, but it might take a while with others. Remember, too, that your friends and family members might be dealing with their own anxieties in relation to the pandemic. We’re all in a state of change.
Our helpline services team are here if you’d like to talk about how you’re feeling.
Returning to work or university
After months of advice to work from home if you can, it’s understandable that you might feel unsure about returning to the workplace or higher education.
If you’re employed, speak to your line-manager or HR department about how they can support you. You can also contact Citizens Advice for information if you’re worried about working.
If you’re starting or returning to university, the Office for Students has a student guide.
You may find our video, Helping you to manage uncertainty helpful.
Check the GOV.UK website for the latest COVID-19 information and guidance.
Other organisations you might find useful in supporting your mental wellbeing include:
- Mind, who have an online community, Side by Side, that allows you to connect with others and talk about how you feel in a safe community.
- NHS website offers advice about mental wellbeing, including information about mental health, self-help resources and signposting to NHS, voluntary and charity services.
Published: 6 July 2021
Photo: Stock photo