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From lockdown to relaxation of covid rules: tips on looking after your health

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For many people, the lifting of lockdown restrictions will bring back opportunities missed like seeing friends, playing group sports, visiting family members in person or getting back into the office.

However, for a lot of people the prospect of coming out of lockdown when there is still so much debate about public safety can be hugely confusing and challenging to navigate, and the much-anticipated changes and re-adjustment will be complicated for our mental and physical health. This may be made worse for those who have been identified as being more vulnerable to the virus and those of us with pre-existing mental health complications.

Just as it took us time to find ways of adapting during the yearly lockdown, we should also expect to take some time to adjust to life after lockdown and restrictions. It is also essential to try not to judge ourselves harshly based on what other people are doing. What we see in the news might not necessarily be what’s suitable for our situation.

We’ve pulled together the following tips and thoughts to help you make sense of the easing of restrictions.

Get your vaccine

With Covid-19 vaccinations reaching tens of millions of people in the UK, there have been many reports of people still getting infected with the coronavirus despite being vaccinated. Just as a natural infection doesn’t guarantee protection from reinfection with the virus, neither does vaccination provide 100% immunity. Still, those who have had both shots of the vaccine carry a fraction of the risk of those who have none.

Everyone aged 18 and over is now eligible for a coronavirus vaccine. If you haven’t booked yours already, it’s a good idea to do so – it’s the best way to protect yourself and those around you from Covid, and lessen the affects of future variants. 

All approved vaccines have been assessed to ensure that they’re safe. It doesn’t matter if you’ve turned down the vaccine before – it’s not too late to change your mind and get it.

Both Pfizer and AstraZeneca are very effective at preventing severe disease and death from COVID-19, even from the more virulent Delta strain. Just remember that the cases among the vaccinated are a reminder that as long as the pandemic virus is prevalent globally, it remains a threat to everyone.

Staying Safe

At Vala, we recommend that everyone remain optimistic but vigilant and continue to take some precautions to keep themselves and others safe from infection. The wearing of face masks is a good example – we can’t expect people to wear them indefinitely, but for the foreseeable future, we suggest wearing them in crowded places or indoor venues such as shops and malls; they are an excellent preventive tactic.

Similarly, keep washing your hands and giving other people a meter of space whenever possible. It might seem like putting off ‘normality’, but it really will help.

Coping with Anxiety and Fear

Fear and anxiety are possibly the most common emotional responses any of us will feel as we approach the release from lockdown. It’s important to acknowledge that these feelings are reasonable and to expect them. It’s only by building up tolerance gently that we can move through these fears.

Remember to control the things that can be controlled, and be mindful of the things that cannot – Having an action plan for managing stuff you might find difficult can help. Everything from how you feel about going back to the office, to how you’re feeling about being on public transport again. Start planning, and control the thing that worries you.

Don’t let others around you or online bully or pressure you into doing things you don’t want to do. It’s important to discuss concerns with those close to you and also allow other people space to move at their own pace.

Most employers will recognise the need to allow their staff to transition back in their own time. Many workplaces are allowing more flexible working even if they want staff to return. Talk to your boss or your team members and try to find a plan to transition back that works for everyone.

Focus on today

With regulations changing frequently, and lots of conflicting media discussions, try and focus on the moment. While many things are uncertain at the moment, there are also things to be hopeful about. Try to record and appreciate good things as they happen. Also, hold on to the things you enjoyed about lockdowns, such as spending more time with your families, and catching up with old friends.

Keep doing what makes you happy, and your health will benefit.

Picking up our social lives

As we move out of lockdown, it’s going to be possible to start picking up our social lives again. Some of us are desperate to do so, but others will be nervous about going back into clubs and public, crowded spaces. You might have to push yourself to reconnect with people and overcome initial awkwardness in physical spaces again; this is completely normal. Whether it’s feeling uncomfortable not wearing a mask anymore, or feeling odd to see people in large groups again suddenly, take things one step at a time.

Just as it took time for us to adjust to lockdown, we will take time to adjust to restrictions lifting. Be kind to yourself as you take the time you need to readjust.

Keep moving

We’ve said this to our members all the way throughout the pandemic — whatever you decide, and however long it takes you to readjust, being physically active is very important for your general and mental health.

Any amount of physical activity, whether at home or indoors, can improve your mood and benefit your wellbeing by helping to reduce stress and anxiety. Continuing to enjoy local walks, virtual fitness classes, or gardening is a great way to stay active. It’s also the fuel you’ll need to put in the tank to help you fight off the germs, and build up your immune system.

Speak to Vala

If you are struggling with your mental or physical health, you can speak to us about getting help. We’re here to help the public start to transition back into the new normal of a post-pandemic world.

Ready to speak to Vala?

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