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FOGO: How to overcome the fear of going out after 12 months of lockdown!!

Updated: May 16, 2023

For many people with the relaxation of lockdown rules across the country and the permission to hug and prod others endlessly (with common sense – is that the most subjective phrase ever), they might be feeling like they’ve dodged a bullet and ready to carry on where they left off last year, for others there’s anxiety and trepidation and the fear of a 3rd wave…

How are you feeling about the whole thing?

As a single person, I must admit I adjusted beautifully to lockdown as I pulled up the drawbridge at Castle Fraser, I was rather surprised at how my inner introvert was coaxed out in the sanctuary of home and in some ways, I have flourished! Now, we’re able to maurade around the country at will, I’m thinking…do I really want to?

Perhaps, I’ll put off the plundering for another night and get back to weaving at my loom until July.

Is this pragmatism or the dreaded FOGO!?

It’s probably a bit of both, and to be fair.

Some time ago and at the height of my business success, I was meeting hundreds of people and presenting to thousands. I found myself talking endlessly about the same stuff whilst presenting excitement and interest.

The pressure and the pull on my energy was quite substantial.

After a while, I did find myself avoid crowds and environments where I had to ‘perform” and the thought of small talk ‘ad nauseam’ and ‘dressing for success’ (whilst being judged endlessly and found wanting) made me desire a more simple and quiet life for myself which I still value today.

The lockdown just gave me Governmental permission to be un-observed and extend that isolation further because for the last 12 months I haven’t had to make up excuses as to why I don't want to go out. This isn’t healthy either.

Going back to our old way of life and doing all the things we once took for granted all at once can be overwhelming for some, could manifest anxiety or maybe you just have generalized agoraphobia because you think you might not know how to do it anymore or convinced a 3rd wave is lurking behind a bush in the High Street.

There has to be balance.

1. Stop putting pressure on yourself and don't let others put pressure on you either (by telling you how they think you should be and do). Gently re-adjust yourself at a pace that suits you and gently adjust your agenda to start reflecting a freer lifestyle whilst maintaining some of the self-care practises you put in place from March 2020.

2. FOMO. The fear of missing out. Work on minimising comparing yourself with others as another friends posts a picture of them with a lasagne in pub garden. Good for them and let them get on with it because I promise you, you’re not missing a thing. You’ll be ready for your “scampi and fries” selfie before you know it!

3. Check your energy levels because doing nothing can fatigue you also. We’ve not been going out; our sleeping patterns may have changed somewhat, and our lives have become so much slower as we use less energy to do things. Throwing yourself into the social whirl could fatigue you more both physically and psychologically. Take it easy and maybe consider adding one extra thing per week or not. There’s no rush.

4. Wear something different. I’ve worn the same sweatpants wardrobe for 12 months. It so familiar and easy and I’ve never felt more relaxed, but I feel like I could make more of an effort and wear something a little more thought through than, “that’ll do”. Nice jeans, footwear and shirt – why not? Change up the energy with a new look and different feel.

5. Break the imaginary barrier. Fears often feel bigger in your imagination than in reality. Getting back on the train, going to the restaurant - all that's stuff could feel less daunting if you try it off peak. After you’ve been on the tube, done it once, been careful and achieved your task you might feel that the fear disappears completely and getting around safely isn’t so bad after all as life becomes more familiar again. If you are conflicted with work and don’t feel quite up to it. Have a chat with your boss. Have a conversation and communicate how you feel and work out a solution that suits both parties. I’m pretty sure everyone is open to listening right now.

We’re all pretty much in the same boat right now and all excited and apprehensive at the same time, but it feels like there is positive change and all the time Summer’s on its way and that is something to look forward to and enjoy. However, you decide to proceed over the next few weeks and months do it at your pace and know you not alone.


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