Most of us can’t wait to experience a bit more freedom. We’ve had people telling us the first things they’ll do are have a pint in a pub, a haircut or even just give a friend or family member a big hug; but we’d be naive to think life will just go back to normal. In fact, in a recent study, we found a trending response to how Londoners were feeling about coming out of lockdown was “excited, but apprehensive” and that’s not surprising at all. We’ve been sheltered for months, in many cases over a year.
Our Co-founder and CEO, Dash Tabor, tells us she’s experienced the first taste of life past lockdown. “I went to meet a friend in the park for a walk last week and realized this was the first person I’d spent any time with other than my partner since before Christmas. As I noticed my friend walking toward me down the street I started to panic. ‘How will we greet each other? Should we shake hands? Hug?’ I’ve never been a keen hugger but it felt unnatural not showing affection for someone I hadn’t seen in a long time. As we walked I realised I was nervous to make eye contact. The screen creates a separation and being face to face felt quite intimate.”
Chelsea Roberts, a licensed clinical social worker, says these feelings, like all feelings, are normal but that amongst her professional community there is an “anticipate[d] increase in anxiety for many people as we integrate back into crowded areas and especially when we begin a mask free life.” Areas, in particular in larger cities with public transportation, are likely to experience greater adjustments to the “new normal” as people have lived a more “lockdown” life than rural areas over the last year. She expects that “in many cities public transportation has always been overcrowded; by addressing these concerns and providing more space for people instead of cramming everyone into a tiny waiting room or crowded bus, it might help provide a feeling of safety and security.” She believes maintaining “some amount of distancing may be helpful in addressing feelings of safety.” She’s left us with some tips to help us prepare to leave the house as well as self-calm when we find ourselves in an uncomfortable situation.
As you’re preparing to leave the house, it is important to identify a “strong support system, slowly reintroducing what is ‘normal’. Clients and I work together to create safe places they can visit mentally when feeling overwhelmed.” Chelsea also “highly encourage[s] people to seek help of a mental health professional if you are experiencing anxiety, or begin to experience distress, about reentering society.”
“Self-compassion is also important,” says Chelsea. “Do not expect that you will be perfect or have zero anxiety about reentering society. It is normal. These are truly unprecedented times and we can theorise on what to expect as much as we like, but the truth is…none of us actually knows. Work with your support network to develop a plan that will work for you and please be gentle with yourself.”
In a recent TUBR survey, 53% of people expressed concern about some aspect of using public transportation. That’s why we created TUBR, so you can take back control of your journey. The new normal should be better than the old. TUBR will help you plan around the uncomfortable moments associated with using the London Underground by showing you which parts of the Tube are most congested and what stops are less so. Our goal is to help those who travel via the Underground navigate the commute with as little stress as possible. If you’re interested in learning more, drop us a message below. We’d love to share the app with you.
Chelsea Roberts, LICSW, a licensed clinical social worker. She has worked in hospice care, with domestic violence and rape crisis victims, and is currently in private practice as a mental health therapist.
“We can do hard things” quote by Glennon Doyle from her most recent novel, Untamed
#london #publictransport #newnormal #mentalhealth