There is excitement in the air in London. Not just because we are seeing a glimpse of the sun through the clouds and feeling the gentle warmth as summer (slowly) comes our way.
No – we’re making plans. And this time we can make plans, because from next week (April 12th) we are allowed to dine alfresco!
What I have been taken with is how everyone’s mood has been lifted, just at the thought of being able to make reservations again and to feel like we are going back in the right direction of what constitutes as ‘normal’.
Alfresco could be our mental saviour.
It is almost all anyone can talk about. First, it was people’s excitement at their plans to meet people in their gardens for Easter Weekend. Now it is all the restaurant bookings that they get to make.
Most of the hospitality industry are significantly increasing their outside covers, including Covent Garden and Borough, to name just a few.
Being able to see groups of human beings again, happy, eating, and being part of a shared experience together is something many have thrived for.
I was reading about a study discussed by the BBC on our human needs to make plans.
It is true that as human beings, we are uniquely wired to think as far in the future as we do. This comes down to that dreaded term that I talk about time and time again – control.
We all need control, and this is where most of our mental issues will stem from, things that spiral out of our control.
When you feel like you are able to take the reigns more on your lives i.e by making restaurant reservations, you quell that anxiety.
What I hope many can gain from this, is a want to take more action.
When you’re quelling that anxiety with making these plans, you’re taking some action and you’re feeling great about it.
That’s only for the short term, and until you need to make more plans. Now, we can’t live in a perpetual state of wanting to make small plans, doing it, then looking for the next. If you feel this way then focus on the more long-term plans that can reduce that stress and anxiety for good.
With a long-term plan actioned, you are satisfying that need of control, without allowing your anxiety to take you in that stubborn loop of searching for the next thing to do the next week, the following week, and again after.
Being able to go out again and see loved ones is a fantastic development in this staggering year. I believe that not only the contact but also the new sights and a reason to go outside is going to be hugely beneficial to people’s mental health. That is not to say it will fix it, but you will be surprised how much perspective a small change in your day can give you.
Let’s enjoy our meals, we’re going in the right direction, but let’s keep going straight instead of circular.