As many venues, retail outlets, sporting and leisure locations are now almost fully open after the recent periods of lockdown and uncertainty, it’s still the case that for many people, a loss of confidence has crept into their daily lives and they are afraid to venture out as they would have before.
When there is any major change in our behaviour or habits brought about by external factors, (and the pandemic has certainly been an unprecedented one), it can lead to the normal patterns of activity being changed and difficult to resume.
It’s often as much a mental game as anything else, as staying in the home, or very close to it can create a sense of security, but on the flipside of this, can also bring in a sense of trepidation and nervousness about getting out and socialising again.
So if the door is open again to getting out, what’s stopping so many people from venturing back outside?
One important aspect of this is the fear of Covid 19 itself and the fear of catching it and becoming ill.
It’s a very real fear amongst many people, and yet statistically, with good hygiene practises and social distancing, it’s actually a very low risk in the UK and potentially the risk of the effects of personal isolation, loneliness and being sedentary, far outweigh any risk of Covid.
Then the other consideration is how even in such a relatively short space of time, personal mobility due to the loss of normal routines of exercise being limited has been compromised.
This may look like what would have been a relatively easy short walk before the lockdown, looking and feeling like much more of a challenge now.
As muscles, ligaments and tendons have not been worked over the last two years, it can cause a weakness and loss of balance and coordination.
It can really knock the confidence when you try to attempt an activity, only to find that you’ve been too tired or lacking strength and stamina to continue.
With this in mind, it can sometimes give a little reassurance to utilise mobility aids to help, even if it’s just a case of over the short term until the necessary strength has been built up.
So how do you make a start on getting out again?
The good news is that there are many other people exactly in the same boat, and you are far from alone in feeling fear and trepidation about getting out and getting involved again.
Even if you are alone and don’t have that ready circle of friends to call and arrange an outing, it’s well worth the effort to start to get out alone, and you’ll probably be surprised to find that you are one of many other people, with a simple need to feel the company of others and companionship.
The key, as with all initiatives that start off with a feeling of fear, is to start off small, just a five minute walk near where you live, a call in to a local shop or saying a couple of words to a neighbour.
While you are out of the house, try to think about other things outside of yourself, like how the breeze feels, the temperature, how good it feels to be moving, what you can see in the distance and all the new sounds you can hear.
This makes you less self-conscious and gives you an experience of being ‘in the moment’.
So then it’s just a case of building, slowly day by day.
It may initially be unthinkable to offer yourself to volunteering, going to a salsa class or looking around a museum or local park, but with repetition of simply getting out of your front door, confidence is much likely to return.
The rewards can be creating social circles, making new friends, a chance to see the funny side of things and an opportunity for greater relaxation and contentment as you feel a reconnection with your pre-lockdown personality.
It’s very true to say, we’ve all been through a horrendous time over the last couple of years, but with light finally at the end of this tunnel, we can look forward to our freedoms, and a return to normality.
It may just take an initial push and a leap of faith to get us out there again - and don’t forget, there are a plethora of organisations that can help you regain your confidence and self-esteem.
If you feel you do need a helping hand, by far the best way to find help is by searching on the internet, there are many resources that apply to any age group, try searching ‘help getting out again’ and you’ll see many pages and articles to help you and give you some good ideas.