I bet I’m not the only one who’s thinking twice about getting out and about after the last eighteen months or so!
Whilst the thought of life returning to some semblance of normality is exciting, the reality of actually doing it is a little tougher to process.
I’m guessing that there have been times when you too have heaved a sigh of relief that an evening’s plans have been cancelled!
Many of us will have spent significant time, money and effort making our homes more comfortable. And once the curtains are drawn, dinner’s cooking and you’ve perhaps snuggled up with your pets or family the thought of showering and getting ready to venture out again, no matter what the weather’s like, is not especially inspiring.
We may have financial considerations that deter us from making the effort to get out and about. Our job situation may be precarious, we may be planning our next holiday, looking forward to compensating ourselves for what we’ve missed out on and so are being careful about what we spend.
But going out often only requires that we make the effort to turn up. Being sociable doesn’t have to necessitate much expenditure and can be a great way to set in place relationships that will be there throughout the long months ahead.
Why not make the effort to get out and about!
– Visit friends. Even if you’re simply calling round for a coffee, it’s good to make the effort to keep in touch with friends and family once again. There are lots of ways to enjoy each other’s company, perhaps by going for a walk, enjoying the garden or, more sedately, sharing photos, anecdotes and exploring their music collection. A little imagination can go a long way.
– Invite friends to yours. Encourage friends to get out and about, and besides, it’s always good to have a reason to tidy the house! Suggest supper. Cheese and biscuits, a simple pasta dish or casserole is often a welcome meal. Guests will often offer to bring something. Let them contribute and you can reciprocate when you go to theirs.
– What about walking, running or cycling club? Many areas have groups already in place, but if you don’t want to join an established group why not encourage your circle to join you in exploring the local area, each person suggesting somewhere they’d like to visit.
– Going for a walk or run either with friends or alone can be a positive investment in your fitness and, after so long indoors, is a great way to boost your daylight exposure. Exercising with friends or family can be a lovely way of reconnecting through conversation, competition and shared activity. Enjoy a regular walk in nature, game of football or beach run and have some precious ‘me time’ or ‘us time’. Break free from your home, TV and the distractions of chores, homework and technology.
– Be proactive. Start a book club, where each person takes their turn to suggest a book for the group to discuss. Have a games evening. Cards, board games and quiz evenings are often such good fun that they’re continued well into the year. Or a pamper evening where ‘the girls’ make the effort and turn up with their beauty products, perhaps bringing a bottle, enjoying a party vibe.
– Consider a training course. It’s good to stretch ourselves and get out of our comfort zone. Use the opportunity to improve yourself, and commit to doing something you’ve been thinking about for a while. Exams don’t have to be a factor, just make the effort and turn up regularly and learn a new skill. It could well be a stimulating use of your time.
And, most times, when we do make the effort to get out and about the result is fun; we’re glad we pushed ourselves to go. In fact, those reluctant, unplanned outings are often the best of times. We’ve no gleeful anticipation, no real expectations and we’ve perhaps made only a minimal effort to get ready and dressed-up. Those are often the most satisfying and rewarding times of all.
But, even when we have made an effort to get out and about and it’s not such a brilliant time, all is not lost. At the moment, many places are struggling with the new rules, are perhaps understaffed or their remaining staff are fed up and feeling stressed. It may take a while for things to settle down. We can still enjoy each other’s company, the fact that we’re out and about, whilst investing time in our friendships. Rather than feeling disappointed or that we’ve wasted our time let’s simply relax and go with the flow.
Consider the next few weeks and months as an opportunity to adopt a more laid-back approach, chatting and laughing with family and friends, getting out and about, doing lots of different things. Be a little more tolerant, patient and allow things to move at their own pace. That in itself can bring its own satisfaction and reward.
Susan Leigh, Counsellor & Hypnotherapist. www.lifestyletherapy.net