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It’s okay. This is normal. You’re far from alone.

Lockdown is easing, the UK starting to reopen closed doors and life looking a little more normal once again. Spring is in the air and the sun is shining. Easter behind us, children back at school, and summer on the horizon and looming large. The reasons for optimism ought to be abundant. But still…

For some in our midst, not all is feeling quite so positive. 

For some, there are issues bigger than beer gardens. 

For some, happiness hinges on rather more than that long-awaited haircut, or a trip to the High Street.

Feeling anxious about lockdown easing, about coming into contact with others, about busier buses and crowded shops, COVID-19 and its continuing grip on our lives?

It’s okay. This is normal. You’re far from alone.

Changing times can be stressful – even if, to many, those changes appear to be for the better…

Indeed, feeling anxious when others around us seem to be celebrating just exacerbates the issues.

Just remember: Those feelings? They’re all valid.

It’s okay. This is normal. You’re far from alone.

Take a tip from YoungMinds – the UK’s leading mental health charity for young people – who tweeted earlier, ‘It’s okay if you’re feeling anxious about lockdown easing. Give yourself time, and continue to make your mental health a priority.’

Or Dr Ranj Singh, who just posted, ‘Not everyone feels the same about lockdown easing. Your feelings might be all over the place right now. That’s OK. Take it one step at a time. You’ve got this.’

Or Beat – the UK’s eating disorder charity – who responded to the reopening of gyms, among other things, with a tweet of their own, writing, ‘Just because gyms are opening again, doesn’t mean you need to go to the gym.’

It’s all true. 

It’s all a choice. 

It’s something that, like all of this, can wait. 

Until you’re ready. Until the time is right for you.

Give yourself time, YoungMinds said. 

Take it one step at a time, Dr Ranj added.

Feeling anxious about things?

It’s okay. This is normal. You’re far from alone.

You see, lockdown has been difficult and, for many, the sacrifices great, but to a large extent, life has been predictable, the rules and restrictions quite clear, and in its own way, that can be comforting.

Lockdown easing risks muddying the water, presenting challenges, and creating potential conflict and confusion.

For some it is inevitable that fresh obstacles are about to litter the paths that they’ve grown accustomed to, and comfortable, treading.

There are innumerable manifestations, and a wide gamut of potential feelings:

You might feel anxious or afraid, fearing an increase in infection rates or difficulties gaining access to a vaccination, or low, helpless and unable to see how things can improve or ever return to normal. You might feel frustrated or angry, with others not following rules and restrictions or appearing to be enjoying greater freedom, or stressed, unprepared and nervous about the changes to your personal routines. 

You might feel grief, in relation to the death of a loved one, or the loss of a job or an opportunity, or find yourself unmotivated and reluctant to start afresh or re-organise events that should have occurred much earlier. 

Uneasy, distrustful, powerless and under pressure – these are all feelings that countless individuals are experiencing all over the UK.

To repeat our mantra, it’s okay. This is normal. You’re far from alone.

Just remember: Those feelings? They’re all valid.

To use a quote once more – this one from Mind, the mental health charity – ‘Don’t force yourself to start again immediately – it’s OK to need to take time to readjust.’

Please take our advice, please take care, and please take that time.

It’s okay. This is normal. You’re far from alone.

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