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Mindful Living

Creating Your Own Roadmap Out Of Lockdown

roadmap, lockdown worries, anxiety, mental health,

Yesterday was a lot. The waiting to find out how we would come out of this lockdown has been a little intense. Well, now we know the official government roadmap and if all goes according to plan we will be living normally again – in three months time – from June 21st. Now if that is both scary and exciting, just know you are not alone.

Just because there is an official roadmap out of lockdown doesn’t mean you have to be ‘ready’ to return to the world as we once knew it. Things have changed and it’s OK to be anxious, nervous, as well as hopeful, optimistic and a little excited. The important thing to remember, and something I’m going to be telling myself over the course of the next few months is to go at your own pace.

If like me, you don’t want to get your hopes up, as there have been so many cancellations, disappointments and changes along the way this past year, just know that’s perfectly normal.

There’s a part of me that has forgotten what normality is, and there is an anxious knot in my tummy just thinking about social situations and dealing with big crowds. Part of me is content with locking myself away from the world.

In the past year, the majority of our time has been super local, just our village. All our dog walks are literally from the doorstep, we haven’t even taken Falcon to the beach a short 10-minute drive away. We get the majority of our food delivered, except for local goodness from our village farm shop, again less than a 5-minute walk from our house. We have probably put less than 1000 miles on our car in 12-months, which is unheard of for us.

It is normal to be anxious and excited about the future

I’m trying not to be too hard on myself, it is overwhelming. Excited one minute, thinking about seeing my mum for the first time in over a year, and the next anxious. I haven’t seen my mum since December 2019. By the time we are back to ‘normal’, it will be more like a year and a half, which would have been unthinkable to me back in 2019.

Things have changed so much and you really have to give yourself some slack. You can be excited to see your family and friends, go shopping, eat out at a restaurant, and go away – but it doesn’t mean you can’t also feel anxious and overwhelmed at the same time. If ever there was a time for you to do you, it is now.

I know that this roadmap is supposed to ease worries, offer hope and bring back some kind of control, which I feel we have all been lacking. But I somehow feel the complete opposite. I don’t like to admit it, but lockdowns have been hard, this one over winter particular harder than the others, but I’ve also become so used to it.

I have a routine, even if at times it is a little forced. I like having my husband working from home. I enjoy our daily walks with Falcon. Cooking dinner together. Deciding on what boxset to binge next, or which film theme to watch. I like that we are making plans for the garden and the house. I don’t think I’ve ever felt more at home in this house before this past year. I know that I’m super lucky, I live in the countryside, have a big garden and plenty of indoor space to have my own quiet corner.

roadmap, lockdown worries, anxiety, mental health,

My roadmap to coming out of lockdown – my tips to get me through

My major worry about now having an official roadmap out of lockdown is that I’ve had so much time away from the real world that I’m actually a little scared about going back. So, I’ve decided to create my own and I thought I would share it with you all – it might help you create your own and feel better about the upcoming few months.

Vaccine, Vaccine, Vaccine – I get it, most people will be happy to resume normal life even ahead of them having the vaccine, but that’s not for me. This is my roadmap, my way of coming out of lockdown, and the vaccine is a major step.

Learning to control what can be controlled – This is something I’ve been doing all year, while yes there are some things you can’t control that cause fear and anxiety for, but there are other things you can have an action plan. I have been using my journal a lot to relieve anxious feelings, writing down my thoughts, worries and fears have helped me look at the potential problems in a different way. The ones that I can’t work out on paper I discuss with my husband, he really sees things a lot more different to me and talking them through works to help me see them differently as well.

Take things at your own pace – My pace out of lockdown might seem a little slow to most, but it is important to move at your own pace. Don’t let other people around you make you feel like your way isn’t right or stupid. Real friends will understand and respect your pace and won’t put undue pressure on you.

Challenge yourself – Stick with me, I know I said to take things at your own pace, but I have realised that while I might need to go slow I still need to push myself to get through this. I need to build up my activities away from the house – in the other lockdowns, the first step was a walk away from our local area, a trip to the garden centre, a meal outdoors, even a shopping trip literally as the shop is closing so it is quieter. Even little baby steps will help.

Looking ahead, while staying in the present

Stay in the present – While it is helpful having an end date in June, to plan ahead, I also know that 3 months is a long time and I need to keep myself in the present as well. This is when I do mindfulness exercises like concentrating on my breathing, doing a spot of yoga or filling out my gratitude journal. Also by focusing on the present it stops me from getting overwhelmed. The simplicity of some deep breathing exercises always works on getting rid of those knots in my tummy.

Find your comfortable zone – This is probably the most important step – no matter what you do in your roadmap out of lockdown make sure you are comfortable. I know I want to see my mum, I have friends I will see, I know I want to eat something I haven’t cooked, I want to go to the beach and walk somewhere different. But I also know I need to ease back in gently – there will be a lot of outdoor activities. I can’t see myself just popping to the shops for a wander for a while, or heading to a festival or a nightclub, or even heading abroad on holiday.

No judgement – Just know that everyone is dealing with this pandemic in their own way. My way is what’s best for me, you need to find your way, and your friends and family have theirs and we all have to respect each other’s timetables. Kindness and understanding will go a long way in getting everyone through this.

One thing is for sure – brighter days are ahead and that’s something I am hopeful for.

roadmap, lockdown worries, anxiety, mental health,

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What I’m Wearing: Dress – Baukjen // Billington Boots – Emu Australia // Bag – Kate Spade