Covid-19 lockdown easing, are you ready to venture out?
It’s now July 2020, and we’re 100+ days since the country locked down, and the majority of us have spent nearly all that time at home. For the past few months, we’ve been told to “Stay at Home” and then “Stay Local”. Phase 3 of the easing process means we can now go to all the shops, restaurants, barbers and even the pub! But what is waiting for us when we do decide the time to venture out is right? How much has the outside world changed and what can we expect?
For those who have been cocooning or have a disability the prospect can be particularly daunting. If you have spent lockdown on your own, you’ve become used to being alone and getting out into society with others can be stressful. Anxiety has a major influence on many of us, so try to do things you feel comfortable with first. Maybe take a short walk around the local neighbourhood to see how many people are around. You might find it easier to shop close-by if you can, avoiding busy shopping centres or areas where there are lots of people until you are more comfortable. It can be useful to judge the quietest times to avoid crowds and make a list before you go. Planning is key, for the foreseeable future gone are the days where you can just call into a restaurant/pub ad lib, bookings are essential for most thing now. The thing to remember is to take things bit by bit, tomorrow is another day.
Yes, the virus is still out there (albeit in lower numbers than before), but most people are a lot more aware of the risks and what can be done to prevent the spread. Most retail and hospitality venues have spent the recent months assessing the potential risks to their customers and prepared their places of business accordingly. You can probably expect to find queues outside most places, as the numbers coming in are being limited for your safety. There may be hand sanitiser available, but it’s also a good idea to keep a pocket-sized bottle with you and/or wear disposable gloves, (I’m personally not comfortable touching the same bottle many others have used!) What you will notice is lots of signs- on the ground, on the shelves, even before you get in. They may indicate a one-way flow around the shop; keeping a distance between others is important, so trips to the shop will take longer. Screens have been installed at tills to protect the staff and many places will only take card payments (contactless if possible) at the moment.
Wearing a well-fitting face mask will be compulsory on public transport soon, and is recommended for retail visits and situations where social distancing is impossible. Mask wearing will probably become the new “normal”. So don’t be embarrassed if people give you funny looks when you wear it out, remember that by doing so you’re protecting others and if everyone did the same we’d be in a much safer position. People who wear glasses may find face shields easier than a mask as they won’t get fogged up, and you can even get face shields that fit like a pair of glasses.
And we all know by now that frequent hand washing is essential, so keep it up.
If at any stage your anxiousness overwhelms you, try to focus on your breathing. One of the most effective ways to deal with anxiety is by taking deep diaphragmatic breaths, breathing in through your nose for five seconds, holding it and then exhaling through your mouth for five seconds. After you have done this for a few minutes, you should feel calmer.
So if you haven’t taken that jump yet, maybe now is the time to give it a try! Taking things step-by-step will help ease you into the new way we go about our daily lives.
Check out our range of products that might help you in taking these first steps.