Look to the future, but still be as careful as you possibly can - John McNally

I don’t think I’d be described as an anxious person. And I’m lucky that my nerves have never got the better of me. So it’s come as a shock to find that emergence from Covid lockdown isn’t going to be as straightforward as I’d believed. The reclaiming of our freedoms in the next few weeks is a wonderful idea. Suddenly shopping, handshakes, hugs and time spent putting the world to rights over a beer are properly on the horizon.

Thursday, 22nd July 2021, 7:00 am
A woman wearing a protective face mask walks past a shop selling masks. Is the prospect of restrictions being lifted making you feel apprehensive?

But for those who have been vulnerable, or shielding others through this unprecedented time, it’s daunting too. Even people I know who have no underlying illnesses are admitting they feel apprehensive about restrictions lifting.

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I had health problems during lockdown which meant I had to be extra careful. My wife and family were shielding. I gelled my hands, wore my mask everywhere and kept away from shops and busy supermarkets. My bike was my best friend. I’m now relishing catching up with constituents and colleagues, as well as being back in my office, but there were times when there were doubts about stepping foot into society again. It’s natural after what we’ve been through to feel like this. It’s been a brutal pandemic and many of us have endured the pain of losing friends and loved ones. There are financial woes and health concerns ongoing for many. I believe in looking to the future and getting on with our plans while being as careful as we possibly can. Don’t underestimate the importance of taking care of mind as well body.

Covid is going to be around for a while, so we must continue to be vigilant. Follow safety rules and be socially distant when appropriate. Get tested and self isolate if you have symptoms. There are things that can be done to help us aid our mental wellbeing. Don’t try and cope with emotional pressure alone. Seek further support from organisations like Mind, the NHS or the Samaritans if you're struggling. It’s normal to be worried at the thought of navigating basic social situations again but take things at your own pace. See a friend outside for a walk and a chat. Share your worries. If you can’t face meeting a pal just yet, then call them on the phone. It took a while to get into the mindset of accepting lockdown so it’ll take a while for some of us to step forward. Those returning to work will have added pressures. Look on line at gov.scot – the coronavirus in Scotland section. There is a wealth of useful information there including contacts for financial issues and mental health support. As we enjoy regaining our freedom it’s more important than ever we take care of ourselves in every way. Please reach out.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​