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TEAM ZOELLA APRIL 12, 2021

Managing Our Mental Health As We Head Back Out

It’s helpful to remember that as we’re finally reacquainted with ‘precedented’ times, you’re entitled to feel confused, anxious and every shade of emotion in between.

The end of lockdown yields many, many mixed emotions. Whilst plenty of us will be craving calendars sandwiched with places to be and people to see, tagging everyone we know in June 21st memes and booking festivals, some of will be feeling overwhelmed with the task of picking life back up where we left off.

It’s taken a whole year to adjust to the new normal and now we’re preparing to return to the old normal

It’s taken a whole year to adjust to the new normal (aka, surviving) and now we’re preparing to return to the old normal, which isn’t the kind of normal we recognise at all, or at least haven’t hung out with for 12 long months. When we consider the enormity of this milestone, of course, it’s going to be a strange transition. Nothing about going in or coming out of a pandemic is ordinary.

It’s helpful to remember that as we’re finally reacquainted with ‘precedented’ times, you’re entitled to feel confused, anxious and every shade of emotion in between. The lockdown switch won’t look the same for everyone and if you’ve got to find your groove gradually rather than going zero to a hundred, so be it.

As we get bombarded with birthdays, weddings and making-up-for-lost-time requests, here’s your reminder that it’s perfectly ok – and healthy – to have boundaries in 2021. It doesn’t make you a shitty friend if you’re not falling over yourself to connect at every opportunity. If one on one walks is living your best life, keep that rhythm. Now is not the time to test our friendships and push our pals to take on more normality than they’re ready for.

Let’s normalise going at our own pace, saying hard pass to nightclubs if that’s what you need and banishing guilt for turning down the invite.

Carefree days are coming and we should absolutely celebrate this breakthrough moment but we should do so through the lens of self-compassion and empathy, not judgement or peer-pressure. It’s ok to breathe a sigh of relief and rejoice at the thought of drinking Pimm’s in a pub garden and juggling eight conversations at once but it’s also ok to acknowledge that this next chapter might not be straightforward for everyone.

Let’s normalise going at our own pace, saying hard pass to nightclubs if that’s what you need and banishing guilt for turning down the invite.

And in the interest of talking about big feelings – the magic and the messy – here’s how Team Zoella are feeling about returning to our pre-coronavirus lives.

Charlotte Says…

Gahhh normal life, I feel in such a conundrum with it! I have perhaps a different relationship with ‘normality’ because returning to normal for me will in fact be a totally different life to the one I was living before and the thought of that is a teeny bit terrifying. I suppose in that regard I don’t have the same sense of relief, familiarity or comfort as I’m having to adjust to the idea of a new chapter and ultimately this will mark the end of life before. It probably sounds a bit dramatic, but I’ll be emerging into 2021 single for the first time in my adult life, in a city, I only lived in for 2 months pre-pandemic, and dealing with a health issue that again wasn’t present in my life before.

The longer I’ve had to think about life returning to normal, the less overwhelming it seems, and through talking with friends and my therapist I know that there are lovely aspects of life I will really enjoy being a part of that I’ve possibly disregarded. Everything from being able to go to live music again (1D boys I’m coming for you), travelling (even in the UK) and dancing in a bar with the girls brings me a lot of joy, so in my moments of panic, I just try to imagine myself enjoying those moments without this extra baggage.

through talking with friends and my therapist I know that there are lovely aspects of life I will really enjoy being a part of that I’ve possibly disregarded.Charlotte

I guess the introverted part of my personality has secretly enjoyed the moments of solitude and lack of expectations, and I think I’ll struggle to leave this behind. One of my biggest obstacles in anxiety and mental health is feeling like I’m behind in life and that I’m missing out, and not having to stress about FOMO has been such a blessing- it’s honestly normally so torturous! I don’t think I’m mentally prepared for quite how intense it’s going to be when everyone has plans and is wanting to make the most of every spare second outside of working as both financially and physically it’s going to be tricky finding balance. We’ve had too much solitude and emptiness and now we might have too much intensity. It also feels like I’m being ‘boring’ in feeling this way- I think that’s an emotion I’ve tried to suppress because I don’t want to seem like a party pooper.

Anyway! Just from reading the rest of the team’s insight has made me feel 10x more reassured and remember that it’s totally normal to be nervous about change. We got this!

Lareese Says…

Some days I wake up and I’m very much raring to go. I’m ready for variety, ready for the horrendous hangovers, ready for the blurry photos of unidentifiable objects and prosecco fuelled chaos in my camera roll, ready for the effervescent rush of a social life without the lockdown proviso. Just to be able to reclaim that soft, carefree Friday feeling when a weekend felt like a weekend ya know?

But then I also have days where I want to stay right here. I feel reluctant to cut ties with home comforts and press play on normality. I have a real soft spot for the simplicity we were granted over this last year, and although we had to give up a lot, it felt, to me at least, that we discovered a new way to live. I haven’t hated working from home constantly (even if my work-life boundaries have completely dissolved) and I’ve basked in the slower pace and the simple rhythm of morning coffee, walk, read. All the things I’d previously written off as vanilla are now all the things I physically crave in order to switch off and recalibrate.

I guess my biggest worry is losing that sense of perspective and forgetting the wholesome magic of doing nothing of note.Lareese

I had no idea how much I value disconnection before – I love the freedom of being unreachable which I think is why I fell in love with sea swimming so much. I couldn’t be on my phone, I couldn’t work – it’s the pinnacle of weightlessness. So, I guess my biggest worry is losing that sense of perspective and forgetting the wholesome magic of doing nothing of note. I want more of that where we’re heading. Walking, swimming and reading are the pillars of my mental wellbeing and lockdown made it very apparent that the simplest of self-care is what brings me back to my best. From now on, I’ll measure productivity in how many trees I’ve breathed in that week lol.

So whilst I can’t wait to live life in more colour in all the best possible ways, I’ll certainly be carving out some time for more lockdown-esque days and striking a careful balance between pub gardens & protagonists, walking in the woods & necking wine with my wild ones, going out out and staying (unapologetically) in in. A little bit of this, a little bit of that.

Darcey Says…

Ahh normality, we’ve all pined for it for months and now it’s creeping round the corner, it can feel a tad overwhelming. Some days I feel really excited for the fun that is ahead, nights out dancing with friends, exploring new places again, live music, social events, hugging people!! Some days the pressure of it all can be a bit much, this pressure to come out of lockdown and never say no to a plan again. That if you aren’t making the most of your newfound freedom, you are wasting your time. I think it is so important to remember that line when we first went into lockdown and everyone said “you don’t have to learn a new skill, you don’t have to be productive every day” the same applies to normality. Days snuggled up in bed are still okay, saying no to plans is OKAY! We all need boundaries and we all need rest time, otherwise, our social batteries will burn out.

Days snuggled up in bed are still okay, saying no to plans is OKAY! Darcey

Life for me pre-lockdown will be quite different too and that’s quite daunting. I’ve had a lot of growing up to do this past year after my Mum became unwell back in June, so I’ve spent the last 10 months shielding, so to now be vaccinated and allowed to see friends and family again is a strange but exciting feeling. I am so excited for my first pint in a pub, or to go to a bar again, but I also need to remember not to go in headfirst and overwhelm myself. I think really this Summer I just can’t wait to finally have the freedom to catch up with friends and family again more, so I think I should feel pretty comfortable in those situations.

I’m really looking forward to Brighton Pride as well, which surprised me as I thought I’d find the idea too overwhelming with all the crowds, but actually, I can’t wait to be dancing with strangers again and the joy it brings to people!

I’ve had a transformative year in a lot of ways, I’ve been going to therapy for the last 8 months and I feel I’ve made a lot of personal growth from this and that has really begun to shift my mindset. So I suppose some fear I have is that I do feel that I am a different person now, so I can’t imagine myself in so many social situations now because I don’t know how the ‘new’ me will be in them. I have a lot of hope that actually I’ll feel more free in social situations, without the added anxiety I used to have, but also anxiety may come from a lack of socialising due to Covid… It’s so tricky to know!

I think, all in all, I am more excited than I am worried about normality, but I want to make sure I do things at my own pace, I want to feel comfortable and I want to enjoy the moment. I also will be saying no to plans still, lockdown has taught me how much I value my own space and time, it’s good for my mental health and I need that reset time. It’s all about balance babyyy!

Danielle Says…

I think I’m in a situation that a lot of people might find themselves in this time around which is that my life pre-covid is no longer my life? I moved house in December, and I moved a lot further out of Brighton so the life I had last March is so different to what it is now. So I’m mostly nervous about what that means for me when everything opens up, will I have enough to do? Will I miss Brighton more than I thought now that I can’t just wander into town? We’ll also be going back to a new office for work (which I’m obviously super excited about!) but it’ll also come with a new commute which I haven’t done before, and usually, most of my anxiety stems from the unknown, so knowing my whole working life will change into something new that I can’t picture yet makes me unsettled. In reality, I know I’ll adapt just like we have to work from home, but I’m definitely apprehensive about going through a big period of change again.

I’m so pleased my parents and vulnerable family have been vaccinated, which is why it feels so different to when we opened up last summer. Danielle

In terms of being worried about actual COVID, I trust that the government will only let us out and about when numbers are low, and we’re lucky enough to be in a demographic where getting infected still has a very high chance of survival. I’m so pleased my parents and vulnerable family have been vaccinated, which is why it feels so different to when we opened up last summer.

I’ll keep an eye on the daily numbers, the same as I have for the past year and if it looks like another wave is coming I’ll limit my social interactions. Mostly I’m just going to take each week as it comes, try not to get too overwhelmed by it all and try not to feel like I should ‘be doing more’ on weekends where I need to relax!

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Amy Lauren

Great pieces of advice! X

https://theamylauren.blogspot.com/

Buddy Summer

Love this post! I find it so comforting to hear different views about going back to normal- especially since mostly it’s positives, It’s comforting to know that people have the same feelings <3

https://buddysummercreates.blogspot.com/

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