Worried about the end of shielding?
31st March marks the date that recommended shielding ends for many vulnerable people across Wales.
Whilst this is a positive step towards normality, the idea of venturing out will be a daunting prospect after months of staying indoors with limited social interaction. Even the most outgoing of people may be feeling anxious or fearful of the outside world and mixing with others.
There are lots of things you can do to help manage your anxiety and build your confidence and avoid it becoming a long-lasting problem.
Manage your expectations
Don’t expect to get back to your old “pre-covid” routine straight away – and no one is expecting you to rush back into anything. It’s going to take some time to adjust and get used to whatever the new normal is.
Don’t forget there are still lots of social distancing guidelines in place to keep people safe and they are likely to be around for a while!
Build up your confidence slowly
Just because you’re allowed to do something, doesn’t mean you HAVE to. Approach it with small steps and build up gradually to doing more. After shielding for a length of time, you may want to start with walking outside in the fresh air, or visiting a smaller shop before venturing to a larger supermarket. Do whatever level of activity/socialising you feel comfortable with.
Try to plan your journey before you leave the house. Pick a quieter time of the day when others may be in work or school. If you’re going shopping, plan what you need to buy to limit your time spent browsing.
If it helps you feel more confident, take someone with you so you aren’t on your own.
Keep a face mask in your bag or pocket so you have this each time you go out – if you needed to use an indoor space unexpectedly this will help to manage any last minute anxieties.
Focus on the things YOU can control
Anxiety can be made much worse when we start losing control of our thoughts and worry about what other people are doing. Its so important to focus on yourself and what you can control.
Ensure that you keep good hygiene practices going such as washing your hands and not touching your face.
Keep your distance from others when out and about and wear a mask in public spaces.
If anything unexpected does occur when out, try to have a coping method in place such as breathing techniques or have a trusted person on hand that you can call for help if you’re feeling panicky or anxious.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Anxiety about leaving the house can really impact on your day-to-day life – if you’re struggling after shielding then don’t be afraid to seek help, whether it’s from a family member, a trusted friend or a professional who may be able to help.
Companionship Care from Home Instead could help you to build your confidence.
Pairing you with one of our amazing CAREGivers, they are there to give you a hand with the weekly shop, accompany you to an appointment or even to your favourite social group once these start back up again. Having another person on hand to offer support and reassurance can increase your confidence slowly and surely.