Coming out of shielding

Old man celebrating

Coming out of shielding this weekend will be on many people's minds? Do you have concerns and anxieties about it? In this blog we hear from some people who have been shielding and find out how they are feeling. We also offer advice and ways you can manage any anxieties you might have.

Coming out of shielding tomorrow has definitely felt like a long time coming.  But how are those who have been shielding feeling about this?

As shielding guidelines begin to lift tomorrow, there are many people who have been shielding with concerns. At the beginning of lock down and the shielding period, perhaps this day couldn't come soon enough for many. However, now the reality of stepping out the front door may feel scary.

You have perhaps got used to your new routine of being shielded and have built up more and more anxieties and worries about this changing.

Coming out of shielding brings up all sorts of concerns. William Hardy from Nottingham tells us how he is feeling during these strange times:

"Well what a year so far, the strangest one yet for me and I am 82! When we first went in to shielding I was beside myself. Initially I honestly didn't know how I was going to cope. I rely a lot on my family as well as Nottingham On Call.

"I was so pleased to be told early on that I would still be getting the support from Nottingham On Call as this put many of my worries aside. However, the thought of not being able to go out, see family and live my life as I always have was terrible.

William is missing his old routine

"I mean, I love wandering to the shop in a morning to get a paper and chatting with people I meet on the walk there. My family are so important to me and seeing my children, grandchildren and great grandchildren is really so special to me. This has been one of the hardest parts.

"But, I have now got used to things and my new way of life and the concerns about going back out in to the world have grown. You see all these scary things on the news and how many people have suffered and it can be pretty scary. Particularly for someone of my age.

"I consider myself to be relatively healthy for an 82 year old man but still, if I got this virus, I would be very ill.

"I am concerned about leaving home and going near anyone else. It seems to spread easily and I don't know if it is worth the risk. Don't get me wrong, I want to see my family and friends and get back to a more normal life but I am nervous about it."

Do you have health problems that make you vulnerable? 

Brenda Shelbourne who is also a NOC customer agrees: " It is really worrying, especially when you are older. I also have health conditions that make me vulnerable and worried about going back out in the open!"

If you are feeling a similar way to Brenda or William then we have put together a few tips and coping strategies to deal with your anxieties. 

Managing expectations-baby steps

Don't try to rush back to the new normal straight away. Take your time to adapt. Baby steps are the way forward and  make small changes at a time. Don't put pressure on yourself to get back to 'normal' straight away.

When you do decide to go out for the first time, plan your journey. Plan the time of day you go and try to go out at quieter times. If you can, go with someone and if you can't, ask someone for help if you need it.

Are you feeling anxious or worried about having anxiety attacks when you go out in public?

Think about working on some breathing techniques to help calm your mind and your body. Whenever or wherever you are you can do this. Take ten long, deep breaths in and out through the nose.

Try this before you go out and whenever you are out and feel the anxiety creeping up.

Focus on the things you can control

Instead of worrying about things you have no control over, focus on the things you can control. For example, make sure you keep washing your hands, wear a mask covering if you can and try not to touch your face.

Try not to go out to busy areas, maybe stay locally and begin with some short walks where you can stay a distance from others.

All of these tips will hopefully help you with coming out of shielding. Remember, take it slow as you return back to the new normal.

For further advice on coming out of shielding, you can see the official government guidance here