We’ve received permission to re-post this blog, which was eloquently written by Georgia Vine. If you wish to learn more about the writer, her bio is included at the bottom of this post. Enjoy!
How great is it that normal life or the ‘new normal’ way of life is resuming? I’m very much enjoying seeing friends and family again and doing things other than sitting on my garden. However, as I am classed as more vulnerable, I’d be lying if I said that returning back to somewhat normal isn’t scary.
I know that a lot of these blogs have been flying around lately and I guess you could say that I am jumping, on the bandwagon. But using my occupational therapy knowledge I wanted to break down the effects of post lockdown and look at this from both a mental and physical health point of view.
So, let’s have a go at it shall we?
My mental health has for sure increased since the easing of restrictions as I’ve been able to get out more and see family and friends that I’ve missed dearly. Being able to sit in a restaurant feels great and it’s not just about the social aspect either, after being stuck in the house the change of scenery and a different 4 walls even is just bliss. However, it still gives me anxiety…
I am very fortunate of the fact that I haven’t been shielding but I’m still aware that I am vulnerable and therefore when we went out to a restaurant and it wasn’t planned, I was very nervous. My weekend away a few weeks ago was great but I certainly had a few nerves and was sanitising excessively (both hands and the wheelchair).
However, I’m very aware that if I don’t get out now I never will and therefore I am pushing myself. The more that you do the easier it gets and I definitely feel more comfortable going for a meal now, than I did a few weeks ago however that initial meal out was hard for me mentally but I soon released that I needed to continue doing this otherwise my confidence wouldn’t improve.
I’ve been out 3 times now to a restaurant and I do feel better about it, I’m hoping that this continues. If you come here a lot, you will know that I hate being a negative nelly so I’m just remaining optimistic, but I can’t stay that I can fully relax and that the situation isn’t in the back of my mind, as for anyone. But, every time I’ve seen friends recently, they’ve just come to my house because I still don’t feel safe enough going out with just friends when no one from my bubble is there. I guess it’s because it’s impossible for me to a social distance if I was going out with friends due to needing help for various things and then the anxiety of being more vulnerable on top, yeah you get the picture.
Being able to stretch my legs somewhere other than my cross-trainer has been a real treat. But I have to say sometimes I’m just stiff as I would be at home because if we have gone out for the day I’m generally sat more in my wheelchair but I’d take it over being stuck in!
Apart from the odd walk my physical health hasn’t really changed much because I’m still not walking around as much as what I would be on holiday (where I should be) or at university…
I took part in this weeks, OTalk (I know that you’re shocked, not) which was all about how we’ve adapted our occupations in lockdown and I realised that the change in occupations has actually increased my physical health as I’m going on the cross-trainer more than I ever did!
Being busier in general has an impact on both my mental and physical health. However, this doesn’t mean that they both are impacted in the same way. For example since lockdown has been eased I have been a lot more socially active, however, my work with my blog and all the bit and bobs I have going on in the background hasn’t stopped so therefore I’m having to use a lot more energy. So, although mentally I am better off because I’m seeing love ones and I love being busy physically it’s going to take some getting used to, using that much energy.
I love being able to go out again and like everyone else I’m trying to be optimistic and hoping that we do not go back to the lockdown life. But the ‘new normal’ is still both mentally and physically challenging for all of us disability or not.
I know as an OT student that mental and physical health impacts one another and I could probably cite a lot of literature off the top of my head to back up this point. In this blog, I have discovered that post lockdown is affecting my physical health a lot more than my mental health. Now that I know this, I can control my physical health more by continuing to work out just as much as I did in lockdown to ensure that this doesn’t start affecting my mental health.
This reflection has taught me a lot and has helped me to consider my next steps for me to maintain both my physical and mental health.
How do you feel about life after lockdown? ~ It’s okay not to be okay! ~
Thank you for reading,
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