Navigating the world – and NWR local meetings – as we ease out of lockdown 

From Cath Heslop, Regional Membership Officer

The National Office team often hear from NWR members that they can’t wait for face-to-face meetings to start up again. Whilst this is the case for many, we understand that other members might feel anxious about returning to social situations, and not only because of COVID-related worries. 

News reports tell us how desperate people are to have the pubs and restaurants re-open. You’d be forgiven for thinking that everyone feels the same way. Whereas, in reality, some may want to ease themselves back into the world gently, and by meeting only occasionally a handful of friends at a time. Some aren’t ready to meet up at all. 

For me, it is important to accept how you are feeling as perfectly natural, and that there is no right or wrong way to behave provided you are doing what is right for you. 

If you are feeling anxious about meeting up with people – or frustrated by others who won’t meet yet – try to remember that everyone is different, has different experiences and can react differently to the same scenarios. This is so eloquently put in Damien Barr’s poem, “… we are not all in the same boat. We are all in the same storm…” Try not to compare yourself with others, instead, if you can, talk to friends and family about how you are feeling. They might be feeling the same way, and may offer you some reassurance. You may know of another member who might be feeling the same way? Offering support to others is a great way of helping you work through your own thoughts. 

The charity Mind offers excellent resources on its website: managing feelings about lockdown easing

If you are an Local Organiser or a programme planner navigating the changes in restrictions, try not to assume that everyone will want to take part when regulations allow larger meetings indoors. You might like to open a conversation with members by asking if they “feel comfortable meeting up”, and offer various options for meeting locations/sizes. That way, members will have the opportunity to decline meetings without feeling the need to apologise or explain themselves, and no one should feel excluded. If members are showing reluctance to attend ‘normal’ meetings, you could propose a walk or meeting for a coffee in a smaller group. 

For the foreseeable future, NWR will offer our online schedule of talks and from September, our new online groups will meet. We are immensely proud of how NWR members have adjusted to the pandemic and adopted new ways of ‘meeting’. Our Facebook discussion groups provide ongoing contact for some members, as do our other special interest book and correspondence magazine groups (details here).

Please do remain up to date with country specific COVID-19 restrictions applicable to your location:

NWR’s priority remains the safety and well-being of our members.