The countdown to the lifting of all restrictions is on and we couldn’t be more thrilled. Getting back to normal life means planning a night out with besties, taking that much-needed vacay and finally heading off to a gig – hurrah!

Whilst there is so much to look forward to this summer, we understand that preparing for life after lockdown can seem a little daunting at first. Luckily, Scape has got you covered with its top tips to get you ready for what the next couple of months will bring. Read on to find out more about how you can prepare for the lifting of restrictions.

Get ready for your first vaccination

The UK’s vaccination rollout, which hit its target of offering a first jab to everyone in top priority groups this spring, expects to expand to reach the entire adult population with their first dose by the end of this month.

Vaccination is an important tool to getting us back to normal and there are a few things you should do to prepare yourself ahead of it. Firstly, it’s important to realise that the COVID-19 vaccine is available for everyone at no cost in the UK, so if anyone asks you to pay for access to a vaccine, it will be a scam. Instead, you will be contacted by the NHS either by text or letter. If you receive a text, it will be from ‘NHSvaccine’ inviting you to book your vaccination appointment at a centre or pharmacy. The text will be sent to the phone number your GP has listed for you, so make sure to check this beforehand to ensure the correct number and details are listed.

Before you head out to receive your vaccine, review your appointment email or contact the site to get clarification on what proof of eligibility you’ll need to take along with you. Once you’ve had your vaccine, you’ll receive a fact sheet that tells you more about the specific vaccine that you’ve had. You can learn more about the different vaccines on offer, and any possible side effects, on the CDC website ahead of your appointment.

Being afraid of change is normal

While the last year spent in lockdown has presented many ups and downs, it is also important to note that it’s okay to be feeling overwhelmed at the prospect of everything heading back to normal. Change can always feel scary at first, and while being stuck in lockdown hasn’t been ideal for everyone, many of us have actually become accustomed to our new lives.

Adjusting to life after lockdown will take a bit of getting used to. If you’re struggling to cope with change and are experiencing social anxiety from the sudden ability to see more people and socialise often, do speak with friends and family to let them know how you’re feeling. Making them aware of your feelings, will ensure that they can support you and help you to reschedule plans if required.

If you’re starting to feel stressed or anxious about being too busy, make sure to block out an hour of time in the day for yourself. You can use this time to do some yoga, meditate or journal – anything that will help you to feel more settled and calmer before, or after, a busy day.

If you, or someone you know, is struggling with their mental health as result of the easing of restrictions, you can find support and resources on the NHS website.

Ease your way back into daily life

It’s important to realise that heading back to normal isn’t a race. Take some time each week to plan and organise your calendar for the week ahead, so that you don’t end up making too many plans and feel overstretched. If you’re heading into work for a summer job, taking part in a volunteering scheme, or simply heading out to see friends or family, ensure that you keep to the government’s guidelines when you can by washing your hands often and keeping a two-metre social distance from others where appropriate.

Remember that restrictions lifting may not necessarily align with what is best for you in the short term. It’s therefore key to take things at your own pace. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself by rushing into things if you’re feeling stressed or anxious.

Also, just because lockdown has eased it doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy the activities and daily habits that became part of your life over the last year. Spend an afternoon devouring a good book, binge on a Netflix series or ask friends to go on a walk outdoors, instead of going to the pub, if you prefer. Everyone is different, and whilst it’s good for your mental health to get out to see friends and do the activities that you enjoy, stick to a schedule that works for you.