Managing Caring, as Lockdown Lifts

With some primary and secondary school children going back to school, the creation of family pods, zoos opening and more shops reopening their doors, we are exploring what this actually means to the millions of unpaid carers.

Are things about to get easier for us, or in some ways is this making life harder?

Firstly, if we're having some fear and anxiety about venturing back out, then please know that we're not on our own, and there are very sound reasons for this.

We have insights from Nicky Lidbetter, CEO of Anxiety UK around why many of us are experiencing anxiety and what we can do to support ourselves. And we also have valuable thoughts and feelings, gathered from carers in our Mobilise Community, within our virtual cuppas and Facebook group. Including practical tips on managing anxiety, and what actually happened when they did step out.

Plus a relaxing, recorded guided visualisation just for us!

When chatting about the feelings around the lockdown lift, in our carers' community, three things were immediately apparent:

  1. As lockdown relaxes, very few of us will be changing our current behaviour

  2. There is a level of anxiety for many of us, at 're-entering' normal

  3. Feeling forgotten, as the bulk of the country start to enjoy a bit more freedom

Very few of us will be venturing out

While a few of us are tentatively stepping out into garden centres, parks and to see close family. It would seem that the majority of us are simply 'waiting'. Waiting for science to catch up, waiting for proof that the infection rate has slowed.

And so, lockdown being partially lifted, is seemingly having little to no impact on the practical day to day for many of us.

"I have seen no evidence that says it’s safe. There are too many people out and about and we have worked hard to stay safe and keep others safe. It’s a farce!"

"We've been advised by our consultant, to keep on shielding"

It would seem that understandably, many of us are being cautious, until the 'figures' show us the 'risk' has reduced.

There is of course no right answer across the board. We each make our own best judgement day to day. Marrying risk with mental health implications, and coming to the right decision for each of us.

Anxiety as we re-enter normal

It was interesting to see that while the relaxing of lockdown should be bringing relief, that actually for a significant number of carers, it is bringing the exact opposite.

In addition, those of us that have 'stepped out' or are considering it, are often sharing feelings of anxiety and panic. It's not always the 'happy' moment we had longed for, and there is plenty of fear for us to somehow manage. But take some comfort, that several carers are reporting back that they "did it and survived". Even if they're not rushing to repeat the experience just yet.

"I was very worried. But the thing is, I did it! Although I'm not sure I'm prepared to do it again just yet!"

Re-entry is tricky! Let's be honest, for many of us 'getting out' was difficult before the pandemic - for both practical and emotional reasons. So it's no wonder many of us are finding this transition difficult.

Plus, the confounded issues of there actually being something 'dangerous' out there, and the psychological impact of being in lockdown for so long. We've invested time in coming to terms, accepting and being happy locked down, to help us to cope. We now have to start to unpick this.</