PSA: If You Don't Feel Safe Going Outside Yet, You Don't Have To

The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

It’s been about 14 weeks since the world began to go on lockdown. We’ve adjusted to a new way of life, and now it’s honestly difficult for me to picture a future without masks. However, the world is slowly making its way back to normalcy — but not everyone is ready to jump back in to their old routines

According to the Washington Post, Spain, Iceland, Greece, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand are amongst the countries reopening currently. According to the New York Times, all states in the U.S. have begun the process of reopening too. While some are thrilled about this news, some prefer a more gradual re-entry — and that’s okay. 

The virus isn’t gone

COVID-19 is still prevalent. While some areas of the world have the virus under more control than others, there is the risk of a second wave. Dallas, Houston, Alabama and parts of Florida are currently most at risk of being hit by this second wave, according to the Washington Post

We will also not know the extent of the second wave until further down the line, potentially in the fall when students are supposed to be back at school. Unfortunately, it’s a waiting game. For some, this may be a reason for caution when it comes to planning a vacation or taking public transportation. 

Everyone has a different situation

Why would someone need or want to take their re-entry carefully? Because everyone has a unique situation. My process will be much slower than because of my baby cousin who has an autoimmune deficiency. Even when the rest of the country goes into a frenzy again, I’ll still choose to be cautious for him. I’ll be careful until I feel it’s safe and that I won’t be a liability to him. 

This is the same for others. I have friends who live with their grandparents. I know individuals who are also immune deficient. There are people who were threatened by sicknesses even before COVID-19 entered our world, and now the risk is even greater.

Not only are there independent physical situations to take into account, but there are also mental health situations. Those who struggle with their mental health have had their own battles to fight during this pandemic. Re-entering the world brings with it its own anxious feelings and thoughts, and there is nothing wrong with taking it slowly.   

While society is working its way towards becoming “safe” again, that doesn’t mean it’s safe for everyone. The timeliness of safety varies for each individual. And while each part of the world has its own agenda to combat during this time in our lives, so does each person. 

It’s a personal decision

Because everyone has their own circumstances, it's no one's decision but yours. Going back into your pre-COVID routine is a choice each person should make for themselves. This is especially true as not all of the risks have disappeared.  

Not everyone will understand everybody’s decision, but when it comes down to it, it’s a decision you have to make for yourself. Because of that, judgment should be left out of the conversation.  

It’s not about living in fear

When someone hears about the reasons I’m not going out with friends or why I’m still inside, they relate it to fear. They relate my situation to a fear-based mentality of what-ifs and complacency. But this isn’t about fear.

The Atlantic recently wrote an article explaining that the universal experience of the coronavirus pandemic in America isn’t fear but confusion. The world has undergone a traumatic experience that uprooted every part of our lives. Now, we are just trying to piece ourselves back together and figure it out one step at a time. 

While some states and counties are reopening, you may not feel ready to go out just yet, and that’s okay. Remember, it’s about doing what’s best for you. The crowded restaurants and the rooms full of people will still be there when you’re ready.