How to rebuild your social life: Expert advice on making relationships post lockdown

UK should be ‘released mentally from lockdown’ says coach

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For many Brits it feels as if our lives have been put on hold for the past 15 months. Successive lockdowns and strict social distancing measures have been frustrating many of us as we haven’t been able to connect with friends, family and co-workers. Here are some Expert tips to reconnecting as restrictions ease.

Freedom Day has finally happened, but as we finally throw off pandemic restrictions many Brits will be anxious about how best to reconnect with loved ones and colleagues.

As we start to return to normality, rekindling friendships or starting new ones will likely be a top priority for many of us.

Carolyne Bennett, a life coach and author commented on restrictions ending saying: “We’re going to really be wanting the best for ourselves, looking our best and feeling our best following over a year of our lives being on hold.

“These thoughts can come overwhelm – a social pressure to make plans maybe, with anxiety around being in big groups of people again.

“‘When and what ifs’ can start coming into play and wreak havoc with your mind and emotions.”

But, there are things you can do to overcome these anxious thoughts and to build back relationships that may have weakened over time.

The Mental Health Foundation has provided some tips for nurturing healthy relationships when face-to-face contact is back on the table.

Give time – this means putting aside more time aside to connect with your friends and family.

Many of us have only needed to focus on ourselves or those within our household during the pandemic. We have unwittingly isolated ourselves from our friends and our family.

Start to factor in time to see others face-to-face again. Put in times to catch up with others in your diary, be that for a quick drink or a coffee.

Be present – this means really paying attention to others in your life; this can be challenging with so much time spent apart.

The Mental Health Foundation says when you do reconnect try not to be distracted by your phone or your work or other interests, really focus on the person in front of you to reconnect properly.

Let yourself be listened to and share how you feel.

It can be tempting to try and gloss over how hard the last 15 months have been.

But allowing yourself to be heard and supported by others will help build back stronger relationships.

Evaluate relationships – if you’ve lost touch with pals think about how that relationship made you feel.

If it provided joy and support, reach out to that person again with the self-assurance they’ll be keen to hear from you.

But, also recognise harmful relationships. Take the opportunity to fall out of contact with those who didn’t enrich your life pre-pandemic.

Visualisation exercises

Ms Bennett recommends visualising how you want your day to be in order to be “your happiest, most confident self” when you re-enter the post-pandemic world.

She recommends: “Every day, before the mind starts racing and before you even get out of bed, spend a few minutes visualising how you want your day to be, and the person you want to be.”

“Imagine certain circumstances during the day unfolding exactly as you wish, be that in work, at the gym or at after-work drinks.

“Visualise yourself being calm and empowered when interacting with friends and colleagues.

“Bring this visualisation to mind when going about your day in order to become the person you visualise when you picture your happiest, most confident self.”

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