What is “normal” in this post pandemic time? The bigger question is how do we pick up the pieces after a long year of isolation, social distancing, and quarantine? The Coronavirus hit our world hard leaving people uncertain about what “normal” even is.
Now that restrictions are being lifted, many people are excited and jumping right back to their normal routine. There are, however, many people who are dealing with anxiety and uncertainty over returning to the pre-pandemic routines of life. Along with the nervousness of returning to social activities comes the concerns of how to deal with other people’s feelings as well. Gatherings may look different when we are not sure what level of comfort each person is at. Each person’s comfort level will be different. Some may still feel the need to wear masks, some may be uncomfortable shaking hands, and some may be ready for the full on give me a hug greeting. It will be up to you to let people know what comfort level you are at. Ask people how they are feeling about social distancing at this point. Respecting feelings will be vital in returning to social gatherings, the office, the grocery store, or any place in which people have not been together for quite some time. Here are some ideas on how to get back to “NORMAL” socializing.
- Take your time- make changes slowly if you need to.
- Communicate- tell your friends and co-workers how you are feeling about social distancing.
- Start small- invite just a few friends to get together.
- Say NO-it’s ok to say no if you’re not ready for large social gathers.
- Go easy on yourself- take a step back if you feel you rushed out too fast.
- Have “do over” gatherings- if you missed some milestone events such as birthdays, graduations, and anniversaries make a special time to celebrate those in person now.
Returning to Work
For some, returning to work full time may be difficult after a year of working from home. Some people may feel that they were more productive working from home, while others may feel the opposite. Also, there may be the fear of returning full speed ahead into the office while still feeling uncomfortable with social distancing expectations. If you’re feeling concerns have a discussion with your boss. See if you can ease back into returning to the office. Suggest maybe two days in the office and three at home to start. Be honest about your feelings regarding social distancing even though restrictions are lifting. Express that you are experiencing anxiety about the closeness of the work space or proximity of your coworkers. Remember, others may be experiencing the same anxiety as you. Being honest with your boss and coworkers, it might relieve their anxieties as well.
Konstantin Lukin,Ph.D., and Elissa R. Gross, PsyD., with Psychology Today https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-man-cave/202104/tips-post-pandemic-life suggest that we need to continue to take care of ourselves. We are not fully through this pandemic yet, and self-care needs are still important. Remember to:
- Exercise daily
- Eat well
- Get enough sleep
- Work on breathing exercises
- Share your feelings with others
- Reach out to your local mental health center if needed
As more restrictions are being lifted daily, it’s time for us all to get back to “normal”. We all must learn to readjust to being “human” again. Remember to go at your own pace as we all re-enter the world as we know it.