After a long hard year, the tide is finally turning in the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses are reopening, restrictions are being lifted, and the sentiment around us all seems to be… normal is coming.
While many of us are excited to get back to some semblance of normalcy, the reality is this: we won’t all feel the same way about this transition. What we have gone through in the past year is a sort of collective trauma, and we have all been changed by it in different ways. Some of us suffered the losses of our loved ones. Others lost jobs, income, stability, their sense of safety and security.
Returning to “normal” after a year of uncertainty and stress will look different for all of us. Some of us will happily purchase summer concert tickets, go on vacation, and plan get-togethers. Others may need more time to adjust. Some of us will mainly feel relieved and excited. But some of us may still be dealing with feelings of grief and sadness for quite some time.
3 Thoughts to consider as things go back to normal
Wherever you’re at as we get closer to resuming normal life, here are some things to consider during this time of transition:
Be empowered to make choices that are right for you. Just because other people in your life are getting back to the status quo, that doesn’t mean you have to jump headfirst if you’re not ready. Tune in and listen to what YOU need, and make choices that make you feel comfortable. Maybe you’re not ready to go to a big indoor party or a crowded shopping center. Perhaps instead you start by branching out and going to a public park and see how you feel about that. If that feels okay, then consider adding in. The key is to listen to your mind and body and move forward in a way that is caring and considerate of your needs.
Be kind to yourself. There is no sense in beating yourself up right now. The best thing you can do is be gentle and kind to yourself. There is no “right” way to get back to normal—or embrace a new normal—so just do the best you can with what you have.
Be kind to those around you. Be mindful of what others are going through during this time of transition. People handle stress in a variety of ways, and you might witness some strange behavior as the people around you work through their emotions. Do your best to be kind and understanding to those you encounter.
As much as we might like to just forget the past year and move forward, that simply doesn’t take into account the real trauma, stress, and anxiety many of us have experienced. We need to sit with and process those feelings, and we need to allow ourselves the time and space to adjust at our pace.
Anxiety Journaling for Pandemic-Related Stress
If you’re experiencing feelings of stress and anxiety around returning to normal post-pandemic, you are not alone. One thing that can really help you process those feelings is journaling. You can download my free anxiety journal prompts here. Simply spending a few minutes each day freely expressing your thoughts can make a big difference in your anxiety.
The content found on Integrative Counseling and Nutrition Consulting platform is not intended to be a substitute for professional therapeutic advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your psychiatrist, therapist or other qualified mental health provider with any questions you may have regarding a mental health condition.