How do we prepare for getting 'back to normal' after lockdown

Kristine Tarbert
Senior Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer

Many of us have been in isolation for some time - the best outing you might have had last month being a trip to the supermarket for groceries - and now, as some restrictions around the country begin to get relaxed, getting ready for a ‘return to normal’ is on everyone’s mind.

And while some have hated the thought of isolation and being separated from family and friends, others have absolutely loved it. But as with any change, there will be some who might struggle more with the thought of again having to overhaul their routine.

The mental challenges for some of us going back into the ‘wild world’ can cause all kinds of emotions to arise for some, such as anxiety. We have become so accustomed to our new way of living that the thought of going back to our old ‘normal’ is overwhelming.

Many people have been in isolation for months. Photo: Getty

“Many of us now are enjoying working from home, teleconferencing calls, less travel to and from the office, shopping online, ordering in,” psychotherapist Dr Karen Phillip, author of Communication Harmony, tells Yahoo Lifestyle.

“Stepping back into our old normal may not be as acceptable as it once was, since we have learned new and more advantageous ways to live. This may present some concerning issues mentally and emotionally as we must readjust.”

Restrictions are starting to be relaxed. Photo: Getty

Karen says our ‘new normal’ will likely be difference given the experiences some have just survived and the fact that COVID-19 may still remain active within the community for some time.

This is where she says ‘slow and steady’ wins the race.

“Although we have lived for weeks under the lockdown regimen, we are all eager to get back outside, to socialise, spend time with family and friends and visit our favourite venues again,” she tells us.

“But rather than just reopening everything, unlocking slowly is best to enable us all to process reintegration back to ‘normal’ life.”

Working from home is likely to be something that remains an option for many businesses going forward, with online shopping and cashless payments continuing to increase.

“Travelling on public transport will remain cautious for many meaning a preference to remain working from home or remotely where possible,” Karen says.

She also says hand washing is expected to remain at the forefront of everyone’s mind for some time yet, as well as common sense social distancing principles.

We should still be cautious when getting back to normal. Photo: Getty

Tips for getting back to ‘normal’

Karen says planning and caution are the two key elements of ‘getting back to normal’.

“Plan how you are going to reintegrate things such as taking kids to the park, having neighbourhood BBQs, family get togethers, working out in the gym, participating on watching sport games or enjoying a meal at a restaurant,” Karen suggests.

“Caution must remain for all of us. Thinking relaxed lockdown rules means COVID is over, is incorrect. While our routines will recommence, they must start again with a high degree of caution. 

“We will likely feel a false sense of security once normal returns and this can present a substantial issue. So remaining vigilant with social distancing, hand washing, and sanitisation is essential.”

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