Despite repeated calls from the government to stay home, protect the vulnerable and avoid unnecessary travel, it is clear that not everyone is complying with coronavirus guidelines.
If you’ve spent months not seeing family and friends, walking into a supermarket and seeing someone shop without a mask or hearing from a friend bend the rules to visit other households can be frustrating .
And knowing that some people don’t stand behind the national effort can quickly lead to concerns about the spread of the virus and the future.
While you can’t control what others are doing, experts say you can learn to influence your emotional response to rule violations. So stay calm and move on.
Stick to your bladder
Dr. Meg Arroll, a graduate psychiatrist at Healthspan, says it’s a good idea to distance yourself from loved ones who interpret the guidance differently than you do – especially if you feel like doing so is putting your health at risk.
“With those in your immediate bladder, clarify what the latest rules are and how you are going to keep them,” she says. “Stick to the boundaries you have agreed upon and minimize contact with others who may not be so rigid.”
If you are concerned, take a deep breath
If you feel panic after mixing with people who don’t wear masks in public indoor spaces, try taking deep breaths through your stomach to stop the innate stress response.
At the same time, you can be assured that your face covering is doing its job.
“Also remember that there are some circumstances that prevent people from wearing masks,” recalls Arroll. “You may have a medical reason why you aren’t wearing one. So think about that before you jump to judgment.”
It’s easy to be outraged when you spot an influencer or a celebrity on Instagram on a foreign holiday. So follow accounts that make you feel uncomfortable.
Of course, it’s tempting to want to face those who you think are breaking the rules, but Arroll says putting aggressive comments on people’s vacation posts is an unhealthy way of addressing your feelings.
“Anger is very often a response to fear, so it would be useful to unleash that feeling in a more productive way. You could talk to a close friend about how you are feeling or write it down in a journaling exercise, ”she says.
Relieve the stress
If someone you care about acts in a way that violates your personal boundaries, it is normal for you to get upset about it.
“It is a very stressful time. So if you are anxiety prone, take the time to proactively manage that stress,” says Dr. Paul McLaren of Priory’s Wellbeing Centers.
“Aerobic exercise and active relaxation help either indoors or outdoors,” he says, adding that meditation could also be tried.
Tell others how you are feeling
Priorat Psychotherapist Pamela Roberts says, “If you know someone who repeatedly breaks the rules, talk to them about how you feel and how important the rules are to you.
“This is to ensure that others are aware of the rights and wrongs of the regulations in force, which will help you be more confident about the situation.”
Remember that everyone is different
The increased fear of the coronavirus pandemic has made us overly critical of others, but it’s good to keep your head by reminding yourself that not everyone is in your shoes.
“It may sound obvious, but it’s important to remember that everyone is different,” says therapist Jessica Boston. “They deal differently with life challenges and interpret information differently. So remember, this is not a personal attack on you.”
Apart from that, everyone should do their part to stick to the rules. If you are seriously concerned about a breach of the latest government guidelines in the UK, you can find out how to report the incident by visiting Police.uk.