Fear of Going Out
The Lexicon reopened its non-essential retail outlets on Monday 15th June 2020. How do you feel about visiting the centre? For many, especially those of us who have hardly left the house for 12 weeks, the prospect is daunting. Fear Of Going Out (FOGO) may seem irrational to some, but for others it is a real worry.
What can you do to address any fears? Firstly, please know that if this resonates with you, you are not alone. We are here to help and do call us if you need extra support.
Here is our guide on visiting The Lexicon.
- If you feel a high level of anxiety before you have left the house, take a few moments to breathe. Breathe in deeply through your nose, and breathe out through your nose but make your exhale longer than your inhale. This soothes your nervous system and regulates your heart rate. Try to breathe this way for a few minutes.
- Check online which shops are going to be open and make a list of the places you would really like to visit. That way, you have a clear plan before you leave the house.
- Be sure to take a bottle of water with you and even a snack. Remember that not all the food retailers will be open and your visit may take longer than you planned.
- Tell a friend how you are feeling and when you are planning to go. That way if you do need to hear a friendly voice while you are out, you won’t need to explain everything first. Your friend will want to look out for you too.
- Think carefully about your transport options. If you know that public transport is going to cause you anxiety before you get to the shops, consider taking your car or walking or cycling.
- The Lexicon have implemented lots of one-way systems and there will be designated areas to queue and special rules about using the lifts and toilet facilities. These rules are for everybody’s health and safety, so be prepared to have to wait a little longer or have to walk the long way round!
- Social distancing will be rigorously enforced by staff so you know you will be safe. Take your gloves and mask if that increases your own sense of wellbeing.
- Extra hygiene measures will be in place. These include wall-mounted hand sanitisers, additional cleaning staff for toilets and a special electrostatic fogging treatment which releases a fine mist to sanitise key areas. Take your own hand sanitiser and tissues with you too.
- If you arrive and you feel that the crowds are simply too much, try not to feel defeated. Think of it as a dry-run on how to get there the best way and plan your trip for another day.
- If you suddenly feel overwhelmed whilst you are out try and find a place to sit or stand away from others and practice your breathing with the long exhales. It is best to remove your mask to do this. You will not be the only one who is feeling this way and please do not be afraid to ask for help.
At Citizens Advice, we have been at the heart of the Bracknell community for nearly 60 years. We aren’t just here as a last resort. We are here to make lives easier every day. Stay safe and stay well.