Since the lifting of restrictions in England on the 19th of July, it’s been a bit of a strange week. I thought I’d come on here and discuss how I’m feeling, the rise in covid anxiety, the potential repercussions come September & much more. I hope you find some solace in this post and know that whatever you are feeling is valid 🙂
I think we should start by talking about “freedom day”. Why the quotation marks, you might be asking. Well, although almost all rules and restrictions were lifted in England on the 19th of July – hence its nickname – Covid is still very much in our lives and we definitely aren’t “free” of it just yet. Furthermore, I know a lot of people have mixed opinions on the recent lifting of rules, so I feel like putting it in quotation marks leaves it open to interpretation depending on where you sit on the matter.
Personal opinions aside, “freedom day” also means that nightclubs are legally allowed to reopen, and people are no longer required to wear masks indoors (except in certain settings like hospitals *I think*). However, caution, such as mask-wearing on public transport, is recommended. To me, it feels a bit like “Eat out to help out” last summer which was promptly followed by a tightening of restrictions and more “stay at home” guidelines. Everything might be opening, but every shop, restaurant, bar, and club can introduce its own set of rules. And as individuals, we can also set our own personal limits (mask-wearing, social distancing, sanitising etc). I think we’re in for a bit of an adjustment period as everyone tests their own boundaries and discovers what they’re comfortable with and what they aren’t.
I think that brings me on nicely to talking about covid anxiety, aka the new form of anxiety. We already had social anxiety, separation anxiety, hangxiety (etc) and now we can add covid anxiety to the mix. The name sort of explains itself, but in brief it’s anxiety related to covid, specifically with regards to contracting the virus and passing it on. A lot of people are feeling this right now and it’s totally normal; after a rollercoaster 16 months of life with covid, which involved a lot of social distancing and staying inside, the new rule changes have come as a bit of a shock to everyone’s system. The sudden legalisation of parties, clubbing, and other close contact activities is quite jarring and if it takes you a bit longer to get used to this then that’s completely ok!
my personal stance
Personally speaking, I’m quite split. On the one hand, I’m excited for things to open up again and to have more opportunities to see friends in different settings. My 21st birthday is coming up and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t excited about the prospect of having people round! Having said that, I have also grown used to mask-wearing and social distancing from strangers, meaning having people I don’t know encroach upon my personal space (in the supermarket, for example) feels quite uncomfortable. Something I’m going to have to work on and I’m sure will improve over the coming weeks. Clubbing, to me, also seems a step too far, and I’m worried about the consequences their reopening might have in September/ when university starts again. I really don’t want another year of curfew, lockdown, the rule of six, virtual learning, and other such restrictions.
Navigating individual attitudes
Everyone is going to approach “freedom day” and the subsequent lifting of rules differently. Some people will go all out, others will carry on as before, and others still will try to bridge the gap between the two modes of living. I’m aiming to do the latter, but it’s also going to be hard when you have to take into account individual attitudes towards covid. In my opinion, we’re all going to need to have some respectful yet open-minded conversations about where we stand and where our boundaries lie, as well as accommodating others’. I know that I don’t want to make someone else uncomfortable, but I also know that I want to start living my life again. Whilst I’ll do so as responsibly and respectfully as possible, everyone is going to need to adjust and adapt to the new environment we are being plunged into.
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this post and please know that you are not alone, no matter where you stand with this all. Have a wonderful week ahead!