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The Emotional Stages Of Dealing With Covid Restrictions Changing And Lifting

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Strangely enough, the relaxation of pandemic restrictions can send you into more of a spin than the initial enforcement of them ever did.

As humans, we’re pretty adept at adapting to different scenarios and environments, but everything has changed a lot over the last year.

It’s pretty standard to feel a little overwhelmed by it all, especially as we draw closer to the anniversary of the first lockdown, the roadmap out of this one ramps up, and different areas of the UK and Ireland relax at different rates (hairdressers are now back at work in Wales!).

As a result, we’re racing through a whole lot of emotions right now…


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Just the thought of being able to hug people again, to smush your face right up to theirs, to be able to dance in a crowd and stay over at your mum’s house, book a flight, order a pint and have your hair rescued by an professional, are enough to make you scream with happiness. The euphoria is real.


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Euphoria can switch to an uneasy kind of terror pretty swiftly, though. How will you actually feel about being in the crush of a crowd after all these months socially distanced?

How safe will it really be to hug your mum come summer?

Could you actually overcome the anxiety of sitting on a cramped aeroplane, even if everyone was wearing a mask? It all seems so surreal, that life as we knew it could restart somehow.


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Rather than looking forward to restrictions lifting, it can feel much easier to just focus on the here and now – and that means staying at home, keeping your hopes small, and sticking with a daily walk.

Why deviate from this isolated, anti-social life, when we’ve already been thrown back into it so many times before?


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And that’s the crux – there’s no guarantee we won’t be in lockdown land again come summer. You have no desire to book festivals and make family and holiday plans only to have them all whipped away once more. Why risk it?!


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The thing is though, the work holiday diary is filling up, reorganised wedding invites are starting to arrive, your dad’s 60th is seemingly back on the cards and is bombarding you with emails. The FOMO might just break down your cynical carapace after all..


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Hesitatingly, you block off the odd summer weekend for those previously postponed nuptials. You agree – in theory – to a festival with your mates. You tell your mum you *will* see her soon.

You try and guard against the feeling of hope trying to suffuse its way through your body and brain…


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And then you give in to it. You say yes to every plan and every post-lockdown idea. You dedicate yourself to trawling holiday sites and buying swimwear.

You stop adding caveats every time you call your siblings about meeting up (the word ‘eventually’ is scrapped from your vocab). You allow yourself to dream. You know it may be short-lived, but oh does it feel good.