‘Step 4’ guidelines and tips to cope with ‘freedom’ anxiety

Person using hand sanitiser to accompany blog post about transitioning out of the Covid-19 lockdown

Is ‘Step 4’ making you anxious? Look below for some tips that may help.

The government has published the ‘COVID-19 Response: Summer 2021’ detailing the final roadmap step (Step 4) as we transition out of lockdown.

In a nutshell, what’s changing?

  • All limits on social contact will be removed
  • All businesses and large events, such as theatre performances, will be allowed
  • There will be no restrictions on the number of people that can attend weddings and other ceremonial events.

As we move through each of these steps, it is important we all remember that COVID-19 is still a part of our lives so we must:

  • Continue to follow the principles of ‘hands, face and space’
  • Get tested when needed
  • Self-isolate if you test positive or if you are told to by NHS ‘Track and Trace’
  • Get vaccinated when offered

What if Step 4 makes you feel uncomfortable? Is it normal to feel anxious about Step 4?

It’s easy to feel like you are the only person with concerns when everyone else seems to be busily making plans. So, if you’re pushing yourself to take part in post lockdown activities and still aren’t ready for it, it’s okay. You’re not the only one.

Here are some top tips for coping with ‘freedom’ anxiety if you don’t want to ditch social distancing just yet:

1. Have an honest chat with your friends and family
Talk openly about where you are at and the level of risk you are comfortable with. This should make it clear to them that your decision isn’t about whether or not you want to see them, but whether or not you, personally, feel safe to do so.

2. Baby steps
The best way to try and overcome ‘freedom’ anxiety is to give yourself the chance to realise that the danger may not perhaps be as dangerous as you think it might be. It’s important to not avoid things entirely. It’s a fact that there is less chance of catching the virus outside so try and make use of the nice weather and reintroduce yourself to socialising in a way that feels ‘right’.

3. Make time to relax
Being able to see friends and family can be slightly overwhelming especially after not seeing them for a long time, so it’s important to find regular time for yourself to relax too.

4. Get information from the right sources
There is always going to be lots of confusing and conflicting messages about COVID-19 and the easing of restrictions, making it hard to know what to believe. So, if you are unsure what is allowed and what is not allowed then head over to sources like GOV.UK or NHS COVID-19 pages for the most up-to-date information (links below).

Useful services:

https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

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