How to cope with 'Freedom Day' anxiety

Monday 19 July marks the so-called "Freedom Day" in England, the day when the majority of Covid-19-related restrictions are due to lift.

While the idea of returning to normality may be exciting for some, it can be a daunting and anxiety-inducing prospect for others. If you're in the latter camp, Antonia Harman, leading emotional trauma expert, healer and the founder of, has given us some advice on how to cope:

Get some fresh air

"If you find anxiety creeping in as the mask-less crowds descend, take a walk and get some fresh air. Take time to gather yourself and acclimatise to pre-Covid life. Be gentle with yourself. It may take a few weeks or months to relax; the last year and a half has been imbued with fear, it's okay not to be okay," the expert advises.

Remember to breathe

"If you are not okay, remember to breathe; calming down your breath and breathing slowly will relax your nervous system," she recommends. "Breathe in for 7 seconds, hold for 7 seconds, breathe out for 7 seconds, hold for 7 seconds and repeat until you feel more at ease."

Make a gratitude list

"If you feel anxiety bubbling up, stop and list things that you are grateful for. There are always things to be grateful for, your friends and family, the food in your belly, the roof over your head," she states. "Anxiety and gratitude are polarised. They can't exist in the same space. Gratitude cancels out anxiety, so focus on the good rather than the worrying. You've got this!"

And remember, "Freedom Day" is the "time to be brave".

"It's time to be free, to live our lives openly once more, to see each other's faces. To know when people are laughing, smiling or upset. To see expressions, to connect," Antonia concludes.