On Monday 19th July lockdown restrictions in England will be lifted - It's a day that's been long anticipated ever since we were told to stay home 18 months ago. But with rising cases of infections and words of warning from Prof Chris Whitty, many are approaching 'Freedom Day' with caution.
'Freedom Day' is bringing anxiety for many young people too. They want to get back to live events, such as gigs and festivals (check out our new eBook for the stats behind this), but they have reservations.
After being away from the social scene for so long and with rising infection cases, many young people need reassurance to alleviate their 'Freedom Day' anxiety. Fortunately, in this month's guest blog, university student Jess Hay has advice on readjusting to life without restrictions.
This is the tenth article in our guest blog series written by members of our OpinionPanel Community. In this series you can hear Gen Z's stories, opinions and experiences written in their own words and on the topics that matter most to them.
Read more articles from the series here.
Tips for Easing 'Freedom Day' Anxiety
By Jess Hay
For a long time, all we have talked about is wishing for Lockdown to be over, for the restrictions to ease, for life to go back to ‘normal’. Many of us, however, are feeling anxious about what 'Freedom Day' really means. Here are a few tips to help ease this anxiety…
1. Be kind to yourself
Its important to remember that our socialisation has been limited for over a year so its completely normal and understandable if you feel anxious about seeing people and hanging out again. It’s important to validate and acknowledge those feelings, so don’t be hard on yourself if you come home from a social event and you feel exhausted or drained or low. You are not wrong or bad for feeling this way, in fact it’s a normal response. So, in those moments, acknowledge the feeling and then take look after yourself because self-care and love are so important. Watch one of your favourite films, paint your nails, listen to a podcast, play some sport, bake some brownies, do things you enjoy.
2. Boundaries and time out
This leads on to point two. Boundaries and time-out are key. Give yourself permission to leave an event if you need to. Maybe say to yourself I will stay for an hour or two and then re-evaluate. If you are exhausted or stressed, you can go home, or, if you’re having a fun time, you can choose to stay longer. If suddenly your week is overwhelmed with social events, you could set aside an afternoon or a day for you. A day to do some self-care or just to chill. Set aside time for yourself. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in making time for others, we forget that we need to do that for ourselves as well!
3. Plan (things you look forward to)
Plan in fun things to look forward to! Maybe its playing crazy golf with some friends or going out for a meal! This can help ease the anxiety as you are doing something you know you will love. Though it is so important to take time out, it’s also great to hang out with others. Planning events and activities with people you feel really comfortable around or doing something that you really enjoy might help or be a way to ease you back into social life.
4. Glam and confidence
Lastly, something that is helping me is the power of a favourite outfit. Wear something that makes you feel confident. Or do your hair and make-up, wear some nice jewellery, or your favourite shoes! Wearing something that you love can just help you feel more prepared and more confidant within yourself. While you get ready put on a playlist that makes you feel good and empowered!
Remember that everyone is in the same position. Chances are a lot of people are feeling anxious or stressed about a social event as no one has been able to for a long time. This past year has been completely out of the ordinary, so be proud of yourself for coming through it!
Download the Gen Z Trends eBook
Find out what hobbies Gen Z are looking forward to getting back to, what trends are emerging this year and what new hobbies will stick post-lockdown.
Did you know... the top three lockdown hobbies for Gen Z were: reading, cooking / baking and knitting / needlework 🤔 Read more by downloading the new eBook.
Read more about The OpinionPanel Community
The OpinionPanel Community is the UK's largest youth research panel with over 150,000 highly engaged 13-30 year olds ready to take part in your research project.
Our Community is more than just a research panel; it's a platform for young people to express themselves, share their thoughts and experiences with peers, learn from thought-leadership articles and hear alternative views on topical subjects.
If you have a youth research project that you'd like to talk to us about, click below to get in touch.