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It’s understandable you might feel anxious and even fearful of leaving the house as lockdown restrictions begin to lift – particularly as the message “stay home, stay safe” has been drummed into us for weeks on end.
As part of HuffPost UK’s coronavirus coverage, we asked readers: How are you feeling? One common theme among the hundreds of responses we’ve received so far was people’s very real fears as things slowly return to normal – particularly when others aren’t following the guidelines.
“If I ever do leave the house, I feel so anxious,” said one reader, “especially as some people seem to think it’s back to normal life and not adhering to the 2 metres away rule, which makes me angry.”
Another said: “Having to go outside and be around others when they’re not social distancing gives me levels of anxiety I have never experienced. It sucks.”
Psychotherapist Mike Ward, who runs the London and Hampshire Anxiety Clinic, estimates that 25 to 30% of his clients are expressing concerns about leaving their homes to go back to work or outside to the shops, after becoming used to the level of social distancing we’ve been following since Boris Johnson introduced the national lockdown two months ago.
“Some feel very much safe living with the changes rather than going back out to uncertainty again,” says Ward, who is not surprised that people feel this way.
In fact, it’s a very rational worry. “The threat [of the virus] is real, it’s also an unknown,” he says. “The thoughts that people are having are very realistic and rational. They are concerned for themselves and others.”The government’s ‘stay at home’ and ‘stay alert’ messages from the government can feed into this.
“People were first influenced by the fear of this ‘don’t go out and stay home’ message,” says Ward....