Welcome to my weekly blog, and yes I’ve been good recently and been doing a weekly blog. So if you haven’y been keeping up, you have some catching up to do.
This week I want to talk about coming out of lockdown. What will it mean for you? I’m opening my hypnotherapy practice from Monday with new guidelines in place for the safety of my clients. I felt the time was right to open, because as we ease out of lockdown, there are a lot of people that are scared I want to help those people.
Have you learnt anything about yourself during this lockdown? I know I have. Is there anything that you are going to bring out of it that you like? Or are there somethings that you didn’t like that you want to leave behind?
Isolation has definitely put a strain on relationships, but that can be repaired before the damage is done. Perhaps you have been drinking or eating too much. Once again those patterns of behaviour can be stopped, before they become a habit.
I want to share with you some things not to do as lockdown is eased. As I am opening on Monday I have been doing a lot of research regarding do’s and don’ts for the safety of my clients. A lot of this is common sense but as we have all seen sometimes that doesn’t apply.
What NOT to do as lockdown restrictions are lifted.
A phased approach to lifting lockdown restrictions has already begun here in the UK and around the world, but that doesn’t mean the deadly coronavirus has gone away. In the UK, over 38,000 people have already died from the COVID-19 disease, and the numbers are growing. We know that life will look different when cities reopen as politicians attempt to restart the economy while trying to keep a second wave of coronavirus infections at bay.
As we count down the days until you can hug your friends, throw a party, file into a football stadium and board an airplane, just remember that even as some restrictions loosen, that there’s still much we don’t know about the long-term behavior of this particular coronavirus strain.
Don’t toss out those face masks
As shopping centres and nonessential businesses begin to open, look for more coronavirus-slowing policies to go into effect, not fewer. That means social distancing, and both employees and customers wearing face masks or other face coverings. There may be a lot of other rules, too, depending on where you live and what you’re doing.
Expect more sanitation stations with hand sanitizer and gloves, and a less personal experience wherever you go, like being entry if your temperature is too high or ordering at counters with plexiglass dividers between. Expect that some shopping and socialising experiences won’t go back to normal for some time.
Don’t go to the gym without a plan
Gyms and fitness centers are part of early phase reopening in some spots, but think before you grab your water bottle and lace up your shoes. You’ll have to decide if you think it’s safe to return so soon. Enclosed areas where people breathe the same recirculated air for long periods of time are especially high risk, and that’s what gyms are.
Even if you sanitize the same common equipment between use, gyms are ripe for exchanging germs. Severely limiting the number of people in the gym at a time — and how long they can work out — is one approach. Requiring gym-goers to exercise with a face mask or face covering of some sort is another, which could make breathing more difficult during intense workouts. It’ll be important to assess your personal risk, and risk to others.
Don’t throw a party or hit the bars (When they open)
Social distancing measures exist for a reason, and that’s to slow the spread of viral transmission from people who come into close contact. Hosting a party at home or crowding into a bar when they reopen will jam people together in a room, giving any lingering coronavirus on an asymptomatic host the prime opportunity to infect others, who then could pass it along.
Even if bars reopen in your area, as they are doing in some places around the world, they’ll likely do so with limited hours (e.g. closing at 11 p.m.), social distancing and limited capacity. It’s up to you to be judicious about protecting your health.
Don’t stop washing your hands
Of course you’ll continue to practice common hygiene, but remember that relaxed restrictions won’t necessarily mean that the coronavirus outbreak is over, even after a vaccine eventually arrives. There may be economic reasons for schools and businesses to reopen, while the virus continues to spread, albeit at slower rates than today.
Remember that the goal of stay at home orders and thorough handwashing is to keep hospitals from being overwhelmed with patients in critical condition and minimize your risk for acquiring life-threatening symptoms.
Hopefully, the good hand-washing habits you’ve acquired during this time will stick around, including longer, more thorough washing with hand soap, and more frequently after coming into contact with people and common surfaces.
Don’t immediately visit high-risk people
There’s nothing I’d rather do when quarantine ends than rush out and give the senior citizens and immunocompromised friends in my life a big, warm hug. But that might not be the best move for them. Quarantine measures are likely to loosen before the vaccine arrives that will help protect people most at risk if they do acquire COVID-19.
Though early vaccine testing is underway, an approved vaccine is still thought to be a year out, at the very least. That doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t see your loved ones for a full year.
Antibody testing is a promising method in development right now that could be able to tell you if you’ve already been exposed to the coronavirus. Unfortunately, we’re not at the stage where this test — which isn’t yet available — can confirm immunity.
For people who are in high-risk groups, keeping a healthy distance may still be the best way to keep them safe. That’s something you and your family will need to carefully evaluate.
Don’t plan a big international holiday
I’ve already started a mental list of every place in the world I want to visit once restrictions lift. However Like me, you’ll have to have a little patience.
While I expect that hotel and airfare prices will be enticingly cheap when nonessential travel is first deemed acceptable again, flying on a plane it isn’t likely to be a fun experience in many ways. Think: wearing masks the duration of the flight, very limited food and beverage service on long hauls and plenty of closed businesses at the airport terminals themselves. On the plus side, you’ll likely have more leg room (Not that I need it).
Intermingling is nearly impossible to avoid in airports and airplanes (though not because of the ventilation system, according to the WHO), which is one major reason flights have been canceled and international travel effectively banned in many countries.
The international movement of people contributed to the coronavirus reaching pandemic proportions so quickly, through person-to-person transmission like coughing and sneezing. If a recurrence were to happen, the last thing you want is the stress of finding yourself quarantined in an unfamiliar country, without a clear or quick way home.
Don’t get too comfortable
Not to be the bearer of bad news, but as a global society, we can’t say for certain what will happen next — if a sudden surge in new coronavirus cases will make it necessary to reinstitute quarantine measures, as has happened in Singapore and Hong Kong, or, worse, fears of a more contagious strain come to be.
The smart thing to do is remain cautiously optimistic about regaining your freedom to move, but remain realistic that we don’t know what the future holds.
Don’t let this control you. Take precautions of course but don’t overthink or worry unnecessarily.
Until next week.
Stay safe, stay healthy
Jon Adkin Author of ‘Can I Change?’ Available from Amazon.