By Corinne Yeadon, of the Being Better private therapy practice based in Newmarket Street, Skipton

IT was mightily considerate to lift restrictions on June 21, my birthday.

While many are straining at the leash for the phased lifting of restrictions, others are experiencing varying levels of anxiety about stepping out.

A significant proportion of people have been subjected to shielding for the majority of the past year due to health vulnerabilities.

Just because rules and restrictions are lifting, this does not necessarily equate to feelings of safety lifting.

A friend recently commented that she had her first foray into a supermarket in 12 months and was understandably completely overwhelmed by the experience and unable to confidently negotiate her way around or select products.

While there may exist a desire to see friends and family, there may be feelings of resistance not to be mistaken for reluctance. Working from home and little social contact can impact on confidence. Becoming accustomed to the sanctity of home can make reintegration into society a daunting prospect.

Our journey through the coronavirus pandemic is a unique experience for each of us and fear may not be based solely on risk of infection.

It’s okay to go at your own pace, irrespective of the roadmap markers. Slow and steady will increase confidence. It’s important to respect choices of others and support with care and concern. Support can be offered without pressurising, “what would make it easier for you?”

Many people may continue to choose to wear masks going forward in order to feel safer both physically and mentally.

Would I love to go to a restaurant or café – absolutely. Would I feel confident to step onto a crowded London tube carriage on June 22? I’m not sure.

Being safe and feeling safe are two different things. We’ll get there, but at our own individual pace.