In early 2020, life and routines changed for virtually everyone. Now, thanks to science and months of safety precaution, things across the state, the country, and the globe are inching their way toward normalcy. But what does that mean anymore? Keep reading for ideas on which to concentrate while learning to rediscover normal in a post-pandemic society.
WHAT IS NORMAL?
Normal is regular, routine, and ordinary. The “normal” we knew at the start of 2020 doesn’t exist anymore. Living through a global pandemic was and is a new thing for everyone. And after more than a year of “uncertainty” and “unprecedented times,” our brains are likely still focused on safety.
So, how do we reprogram our thinking? Well, we need to shift our focus from what we knew to what we know. And we need to reset our ideas and our plans from that new starting point. Change can be difficult, but we’ve already done it once.
FOCUS ON YOU
In one way or another, the past year has been difficult for everyone. That’s to be expected. Adjusting to new routines and societal rules is stressful, especially under these circumstances. And it’s okay to not be okay.
The most important thing when moving forward is to focus on yourself. So much of what happens in the world is beyond our control, but hone in on what you can regulate: how you spend your time, what makes you happy, how you react to other people and situations.
Determine what makes you feel joyous, calm, and safe, and direct your attention there. Who do you want to be in the weeks and years ahead? Follow that path to become the best version of you. If needed, the team at Healthwise is always here to help guide you toward that path.
OUT AND ABOUT
The process of reacclimating is different for everyone, and there is no timeline on when you should feel comfortable. Take things at your own pace. Be adaptable to new situations but also be patient and give yourself a break.
At the same time, be compassionate toward others who may need more time to adjust. Talk with family and friends to see how they’re doing and let them know how you are progressing.
If everyone seems to be moving at a different pace than you, don’t worry. You’ll get there when you’re ready. Just be sure to let others know your boundaries, too, so that you feel comfortable throughout the process.
MAKE A PLAN
If the thought of getting back out in the world after spending so much time away from it generates feelings of anxiety, you’re not alone. The idea of jumping back into past routines can seem overwhelming when we haven’t engaged in them for so long.
We’re all a little rusty right now when it comes to social norms. More than that, things that used to seem normal – like a hug or even a face-to-face conversation – can now feel awkward, simply because we’ve associated those actions with potential danger for so long.
TEST THE WATERS
Reacclimating to everyday behaviors and interacting with people will understandably take time. Here are some things you can do to get yourself used to being comfortable outside of your isolation bubble:
- Take a road trip with family, a close friend, or a small group of friends with whom you feel comfortable. Be prepared to encounter safety regulations while becoming used to being around others again.
- Tour your town. Go for a bike ride or take a walk around town to learn about your community or reacquaint yourself with it.
- Go camping or tent out in the back yard. Get out and connect with nature, even if it’s not far from home. Surrounding yourself with nature helps to reduce stress and feelings of fear or anger.
As you become more comfortable being around others, you can add more plans – and more people – to your agenda. But this doesn’t have to happen overnight. As with anything, your mental health comes first. Wait until you’re ready before making the changes you need to readjust.
HEALTHWISE CAN HELP
A global pandemic is a big thing to overcome. And learning to rediscover normal – or what we once considered “normal” – will take some time. Give yourself all the time you need to feel comfortable reintegrating with the people and things in your life. If you find yourself struggling or need someone to talk to, Healthwise can help. Our licensed professionals can talk with you and find the best approach toward moving forward based on your feelings and needs. Contact us today to learn more.