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So called ‘Freedom Day’ has arrived, but for us, it’s all a bit flat! With rising case numbers and with-it hospitalisations and deaths, many of us feel quite apprehensive about the end of all restrictions and what that may mean for the coming weeks and months.

But it isn’t all doom and gloom! The NHS Track and Trace system is proving very effective. In fact, as I write this, I received a notification to self isolate having been in contact with someone over the weekend who later tested positive. Vaccinations are also proving to be an effective tool in combating the severity of illness. There are those that I would’ve worried about previously, have contracted the virus and reported mild symptoms, even after just one vaccine (please get both doses though as it could help you to evade the virus altogether).

Life is sure to look a little different going forward but let’s try and enjoy what’s to come. As always, it’s about striking a balance!

Book your tickets to live experiences and events once more

My mental health has really struggled this last year but as I am now double vaccinated (and will have been for 2 weeks this coming Sunday) and intend on keeping the social distancing and mask wearing everywhere that is appropriate (as well as endless sanitizing and hand washing), and following government guidelines of course, I need to accept there isn’t much more I can do than that. An element of exposure will eventually help my mental health and anxieties around the pandemic. So, it’s time to look forward to live events once more!

We can’t wait for the Reading and Leeds Festival!

One major festival still taking place this year is the Reading and Leeds Festival on the 27th -29th  August. With Stormzy, Sam Fender, Post Malone, Sigrid, Dead Poet Society, Queens of the Stone Age, Shy FX all set to play at this sold-out event, it’ll no doubt be one of the most celebrated and memorable events ever.

They’re requesting that all festival goers prove their COVID status before entering. You’ll need to either have been double vaccinated, show proof of a negative test (but likely conduct more whilst there) or proof of natural immunity with a positive PCR test within 180 days of the festival. This helps to ensure that the risk is at a minimum, especially as it is an outdoor event.

If you’ve not managed to bag yourself a ticket, why not host a viewing festival? If you want to spend time in the garden, set up speakers around the garden and tune in to the BBC coverage. You could also set up a couple of TVs up in the living spaces to enjoy there when you need to cool off. Of course, it wouldn’t be a festival without flags (affiliate link) or bunting, go all out, it’s a celebration after all!

Support the theatre!

The theatres have also opened their doors once more and it’s been a really tough ride for those in the arts and leisure industries. Go and support a local or national show, nothing brings more joy than a trip to the theatre!

We’re looking forward to enjoying Beauty & The Beast at The Bristol Hippodrome over the next couple of months. With a requirement to prove COVID status, recommendation to wear masks (and staff will be wearing them too) as well as continued cleaning protocols we feel it’ll be a very safe trip indeed!

Support the businesses stopping the spread

When it comes to eating out and shopping, I’ll be supporting the businesses that are keeping measures in place. It shows that they recognise the current situation and want to continue to protect their customers and staff. Those throwing caution to the wind and not participating in the COVID status scheme and forgoing any measures are not somewhere I’d want to support; it shows a lack of care and thought. Plus, any potential risk to my summer plans until quarantine free day is not something I want to embark on!

Carve out some space just for you

With hundreds and thousands being told to self-isolate; following close contact or a positive test result, these numbers are likely to increase over the coming weeks. There is every chance that in the next couple of days this could be you.

Some events in the social calendar are not to be missed- friends weddings, tickets to shows or concerts you’ve waited years to attend and even long drawn holidays. Of course, you wouldn’t want anything to impact on these and so other social gatherings, around these, could be scheduled with caution. Conduct social gatherings outside, maintain social distancing where you can, wash your hands or use sanitizer frequently and wear masks where appropriate. For those really important events you wouldn’t want to miss, maybe forgo other social engagements for now until case numbers settle.

I’ve found it really beneficial, throughout the pandemic, to space social occasions out. I’m finding, as are a lot of people, the change in dynamics from virtual to in-person causes more fatigue and I need physical space between them to allow my body and mind to unwind. As the demand to be more social is put on us, putting such strategies and chill days could be extremely beneficial over the coming weeks and months.

Don’t isolate those in isolation

We’re all more than a little done with Zoom calls and virtual gatherings but we’re likely to see huge numbers of our friends and families told to isolate over the coming weeks, certainly before the 16th August, the date when isolation if you’re double vaccinated is set to end. Be sure to check in with them, organise a short virtual call or a games night so they can feel included and supported during this time. In addition, be sure to offer support, if you’re able to, to organise food shopping, medicines, dog walks etc. but don’t ever just turn up or wait to see your friend or relative. Everything needs to be zero contact to help stop any further potential spread.

What are you looking forward to most this summer? Are you still going to keep certain measures going?

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