On the one hand, I’m ecstatic to be going for my COVID vaccine, the first of us in the Dean household. On the other, it marks me out as the oldest member. Mr D won’t be eligible for another couple of weeks. Due to my birthday falling over this weekend and me nudging into the current age group being called up, it was my happy experience to receive an invitation to book my dates. Yes, both dates are now in the diary and I will be fully vaccinated by the time we finally emerge from all restrictions (fingers crossed).
By my calculations, I will have decent levels of immunity just in time for the first part of the UK lockdown easing.after Easter. If all goes to plan, I will be able to enjoy a facial and a much-needed eyebrow trim. The poor things resemble hairy caterpillars resting over my eyes at the moment. I promised my beautician I wouldn’t mess with them. Bless her. She’s worked so hard to prune them into shape over the years it would be a shame to spoil the brow topiary just because I don’t have patience to wait a little longer. I mean it’s not as if I’m going anywhere. Dog walking is the only thing I do where I may encounter another human being from outside our household… not exactly a moment for high fashion.
On a less frivolous note, I’m not sure how I feel about starting to mix with other humans once we’re allowed to. Having spent most of the past year viewing people as walking biohazards, it’s going to take courage to begin to mix with others again. This time last year people thought I was bonkers for wearing a mask in public… I wasn’t, I was simply following my old lab protocols from when I studied microbiology, keeping myself safe and protecting others in case I was a silent carrier. The level of anxiety I experience when I have to go to the supermarket is ridiculous for a shopaholic. I should be grateful that lockdown has cured me of reliance on retail therapy! My bank balance at the end of the month is testament to the cure.
I don’t think I’m alone in experiencing anxiety at the thought of mixing with people. It’s a dilemma. I long to go home to Scotland and visit my sister and father without worrying that I’m putting them in danger or breaking restrictions. Our dance class members are raring to rip up the dance floor with a well-executed tango or jive. I can see our village pub from my bedroom window and can hardly wait to chill out in the beer garden and chat with friends and neighbours…. BUT… I’m scared of catching this viral menace. Too many of my seemingly healthy friends have had it bad enough to be hospitalised. That sure as heck freaks me out.
But life is for living and now we have to retrain ourselves into a new way of life. I thought I’d share my top tips… for me. Yours will likely be different to mine. Please add your recommendations to the comments section
1. Go slow. It’s going to take time to adjust to seeing people as people instead of walking virus carriers. We’ve lived for a year with the message that socialisation is unsafe so it’s logical that it will take time to rebuild our confidence. Lucky for the Dean household we live in the countryside so mixing with people will be easier to manage in the outdoor setting. Go at your own pace.
2. Have compassion for yourself and others. Be mindful of how you are actually feeling as we begin to mix again. Some people will rush headlong into parties, while others will find this terrifying. Eat well, stay active and take a few moments to practice mindfulness.
3. Create a routine for yourself. As creatures of habit we get a little flustered when our routine is messed with and COVID has messed with us big style. From getting up out of bed at the same time every day, regular lunchtimes, to going to bed at the same time. These we can control for ourselves and gives us a comforting structure to let us cope with everything else.
4. Help! If you find yourself so overwhelmed don’t leave it too long to seek some help from healthcare professionals. Even chatting things through with a trusted friend can help. The likelihood is that you’re not the only one feeling this way. I know some people say misery loves company, but I prefer the problem shared is a problem halved approach.
Whatever the future has in store for us all, I wish you a safe and healthy one.