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Leaving lockdown at your own pace

As the anniversary of when we first entered lockdown approaches, now more than ever, we’re all probably feeling ready to escape the perimeters of our confinement. Luckily, the roadmap to normality has been announced, and the 21st of June is pencilled into everybody’s diaries (or should I say firmly outlined with a permanent marker?). And yet, the closer freedom becomes, the more I’m finding myself dreading what we used to call normal life. 

Currently, our surroundings are saturated with reminders of loss. Every week the funeral tolls on my phone will ring as the weekly death-count is announced. And so, amongst the grief that will surely follow, juggling a sudden return to life as we once knew it will be jarring and, more than likely, exhausting. 

The person I was in fresher’s week is a very different person to me now. Last year, in between lectures and learning to live without the watchful guidance of my parents for the first time, I would also be going out every night of the week. Fast forward to now, during a brief fling with tier 2 a few months ago, one quick trip to the pub was enough to knock me out for days. 

Seemingly, everyone around me is buzzing with excitement for lockdown to end and it feels almost embarrassing to say that I will need more time to adjust. Nonetheless, as the end approaches, the realities of returning to normal life are becoming clearer; despite how it may appear online, with the endless stream of people begging for festival tickets, everyone is much more tentative than they appear. 

That being said, as overwhelming as it may seem, leaving lockdown doesn’t have to be as impossible and unmanageable as it appears right now. When we finally reach the 21st of June (which is still four months away), I’m sure we will all be ready to escape outside; it is only a case of going at your own pace. For me, going from being in bed by 10pm every night to a sleepless (and sweaty) 5-day festival is too big of a leap. My plans for leaving lockdown involve dinner parties with friends and well-dispersed trips to the pub. 

Let yourself recover. And this could really mean anything; of course, spending a day in bed recharging whilst you watch Netflix is a good option (also one of my personal favourites). Alternatively, you could relax by starting with something small – like many people in lockdown, each week gave rise to a new hobby, from crochet, to sudokus, to endless baking, some have endured better than others. And there’s nothing to say these hobbies can’t transcend into our daily lives as a means to help ourselves relax. 

Eventually, the walk to the pub and offbeat dancing in clubs will undoubtedly come back like muscle memory. For some this may take more time than others, but that’s more than okay! However you choose to celebrate leaving lockdown, whether it’s a quick drive to Barnard Castle, celebrating the buzz of Princes Street or making up for a year’s worth of missed hugs; you don’t have to replace the anxiety-inducing confinement of your bedroom walls with the claustrophobic crowds of clubbing. Take your time and relish in the freedom of leaving quarantine.

As we emerge from our year-long hibernation, be kind to yourself. Allow yourself to take your time, and equally, allow yourself to feel the excitement and apprehension of returning to normal life. Even if people won’t say it, we all feel the same way.

Image: Danny Howe via Unsplash