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Throughout lockdown, many of us felt the same about our lives and emotions. We grieved for the freedom we once had, learned to sit with the uncertainty, rode the dip days. We sat tight when our motivation went into hiding and came to terms with the fact we were living through Groundhog Day – also known as the infinite present. There’s been this real sense of ‘we’re in this together’.
But now, things are shifting. Where once we were united in our emotions – with the clear advice of ‘stay home and protect the NHS’ – the picture has now become more complex as rules have eased.
Some people are ready to move on with their lives – to meet friends, to get back to work. Others are more reluctant, anxious about what this new future holds. And this mismatch is not exactly a recipe for happy relationships – whether that’s between partners, family members, friends or housemates.
“Things are very conflicting and there are very opposing feelings,” says Lucy Fuller, a UKCP-accredited psychotherapist.
Fuller says our brains are trying to process a lot of conflicting information. There’s the excitement of returning to normal versus the sadness of the fact it’s a new normal. We still don’t fully understand what’s going on, either: will the virus die out in a few months or will there be a second wave? We don’t know.
“There is so much conflict everywhere,” she says. “Whereas when we started lockdown, it was actually very simple. There was a collective feeling about what was going on. It was about: you need to protect the NHS, you need to stay indoors. It was focused and clear.
“What’s going on for us [now] is a complete reflection of...