As we all look ahead to a life without COVID lockdown, how are you feeling? Excited at the prospect of a calendar cluttered with plans? Or nervous at the thought of getting out and about again? For many of us, it's the latter, according to Anxiety UK. A survey by the charity found over a third of people were happy to stay at home with the 'pressures of socialising' cited as their biggest concern.
So, who better to guide us through this unprecedented minefield of emotions than clairvoyant, healer, author and life coach to the stars Emma Lucy Knowles? With over 21,000 Instagram followers and three best-selling books under her belt, Emma Lucy is 'good vibes' bottled.
Here, we talk managing post-lockdown social anxiety, the dos and don'ts of declining social invites and her fool-proof five-minute mood booster.
It's so lovely to chat with you Emma Lucy! How do you personally feel about lockdown lifting?
There’s so much mixed energy that comes with it! Personally I’m thrilled but also a little apprehensive as there is a bit of perceived pressure for people to go out. I've already noticed some social anxiety related to either getting out in the first place or going to the 'right' places.
On paper, returning to 'normal life' sounds great, doesn't it? So why might many of us be feeling anxious?
Energetically you have to consider we’ve all been ‘in’ for some time now – indoors, in ourselves, in a safe space... healing, growing, letting go. Normally we’d be doing these kind of energy shifts at a lesser pace as well as going to work every day, for example, and perhaps not being as aware of our sensitivities.
Take all that energy, that inner work, that self growth and then douse that in a sense of 'nervousness' over how things are going to be now. Apply it to a room full of people doing that shift change all at the same time. It’s a lot right?!
The good news is you're not the only one feeling like this. But it's important you 'ground' before you go out. Connect to the breath, to the body and then move into that exciting space – with all that energy moving through and around you. Choose what feels good and lean out from what doesn't!
What advice do you have for people wanting to decline certain social invitations? Is it okay to say 'no?'
This has always been tough regardless of lockdown. Some of us don’t want to offend. Some of us don’t want to lie. Others feel they don’t want to go somewhere and then worry they’ve missed out.
It’s a vicious cycle with various spokes. But I say this: honour yourself. Tune in and ask: 'Does this feel like a good space for me to be tonight?' Or ask: ‘Do I not want to go because I’m not used to going out?’ Listen to your body's response and honour that.
Then, just be honest. If you're not feeling it, say that. If you want to stay in, say that. And if your friends give you grief, ask: 'Is it coming from a good space?' Be thankful that they care but stay in anyway if it feels 'off!' That’s the best way to be happy – you doing you!
What other tricks can we do to help ease anxiety, particularly once we're out?
Grounding, grounding, grounding. Stamp your feet into the ground – letting your hands hang by your side as you come to the breath. Look straight ahead, gently close your eyes and put all focus, all breath awareness to your feet. Visualise roots growing down from your feet – the body will start to sway as it grounds, so allow it. Feel the power of 'you' fill with the power of the universe then visualise a bubble of white light all around you. Say aloud or in your mind: ‘I am totally safe and I am totally protected.'
Crystals are also amazing support buddies for grounding. Look for hematite, unakite, rose quartz and howlite, in particular. Spend some time cleansing your crystals and then most importantly, set them with an intention. Give them a job – they LOVE to be busy. Simply take them in your hand and state three times: ‘I give you permission to shield my energy and alleviate anxiety.'
When you are out, keep the crystal close by – in your hand, pocket, or in your bra! When you feel your energy start to wander or your mind lead you astray, rub or visualise the crystal and come back to the intention.
What is your top trick for transforming your mood quickly?
Smile! Buddha smiling! No matter how forced it feels, smile for five minutes and it will trick the body into releasing happy hormones.
Also, count your blessings. I like to list ten a day as a minimum. When my mind feels blue, I add more or re-read the list. I reach for the good and the happy and use past lists to hook me and lock me back in.
Are there any positive elements of lockdown that you'll be continuing in your own life?
It actually showed me I was becoming a little bit of a hermit with my work so I'm going to keep up my promise to take 'real life' breaks all the more regularly!
Looking for more lockdown-lifting inspiration? Take a look at these articles:
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- Boosting Body Confidence After Lockdown
- How This GP Takes Care of Her Mental Health
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