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Re-engaging with the Neighbourhood

Caroline Riley

Our Coaching team take a look at the questions we might find helpful as we re-engage with society in different ways after lockdown. In this article, we look at how to re-emerge well in our neighbourhoods.

Despite really looking forward to the Covid restrictions being lifted, I have had to face a deeply hidden anxiety about going out. I could manage the supermarket, church, doctors and going to the local park – but other places that had the risk of me being in the same space as many people – that was harder and I needed to accept that I had made decisions, perhaps unconsciously – to avoid places where ‘many others’ could be.

It was during a shopping trip with my granddaughter that I became aware of a tension in my body, followed up with a desire to be in and out in record time! But my 3 year old wanted to look at toys for her birthday and was not to be rushed on this day with grandma! So I needed to ask myself questions as to what I was feeling, naming it, and establishing why I felt that way; namely fear of a disease that I could not control.

Perhaps this resonates with you; that you are also becoming aware of a ‘fear’ of venturing outside of our bubbles. Or maybe you are the complete opposite, so excited to be able to meet up with friends and go to places previously closed to you that you need to remember to rein in your desire to hug everyone that you see and need to remind yourself of stranger danger!

Here are a few questions that you may find helpful for the next time you plan to go further afield. You may find it useful to share a conversation using the questions below and maybe journal your responses so that you can reflect and pray about them. 

For those who are aware of some anxiety :

  • As you consider your journey or activity, allow yourself time to become aware of any negative feelings or emotions that may be stirring. What are those emotions?
  • What is it particularly about that situation that is raising those emotions/feelings?
  • What can you do to minimise or remove the feeling?
  • Is there someone who could support you  – either as someone to talk through things with or even a friend to venture with you?
  • What is in your control to do in order to ensure that you feel safe?
  • What will you do, and when do you intend to do it?
  • Where do you feel God is leading you?

For those who are overwhelmed by all the possibilities and excitement of getting out:

  • What is important to you about being able to go out?
  • How will you use these new opportunities to get out into your neighbourhood, town, city or village?
  • Where is God drawing you?
  • What do you need to say yes and no to as the endless possibilities present themselves?

Life post lockdown restrictions will seem strange for a while despite our collective desires to give hugs and venture afar. Once we accept that premise, we give ourselves permission to not be ok about rushing headlong into our new freedoms, as well as permission to say no and not do everything presented to us. Being kind to ourselves and to others.

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