What's "Normal" Anymore? The Aftermath of Quarantine
By now, you’ve probably read what seems like hundreds of articles on how to cope with COVID-19. You’ve been Zooming to stay socially connected, you get outside as much as you can to soak up the sunshine, and you’ve perfected wearing business attire on just the top half of your body while you work from home. But now you’re faced with new challenges. Workplaces, restaurants, and gyms are gradually reopening, and that is both exciting and anxiety-provoking. Throughout the last four, six, even eight weeks, you’ve adjusted. You’ve created a new routine, found a new rhythm. And now it’s changing again. Life slowed down for many weeks, and now it might feel like it’s hitting you full-force. So how do you re-adjust back into a life that once was your norm? For starters, it’s okay if you are having a hard time juggling a schedule that used to be easy. Give yourself compassion – you are surviving a pandemic! Normalize the feelings that come up for you and know that there is no “right” way to react to current circumstances. There’s no blueprint on how to adapt back to your daily commute, being in the office, and packing lunches. There’s also no blueprint on how to deal with the fact that summer school, swim lessons, sports, and camps might be a no-go for your kids this summer. Some things are back to normal, but some are still very different. Dealing with the ambiguity is not easy, so just take things one day, one moment at a time. You don’t need to have the next three months planned out; in fact, you can’t have the next three months planned out, because no one knows what the future will bring. If there ever is a time to live in the present, now is it. One thing that will be helpful is to continue the positive habits you created in quarantine. Did you take up reading? Going for a walk each night after dinner? Gardening? Woodworking? Whatever hobbies you discovered (or rediscovered after years of “I don’t have time”), I urge you to continue giving them space in your life. Our culture is hyper-focused on productivity, but I guarantee you’ll be a much kinder, more patient, more loving version of yourself if you take time to indulge in the activities that bring you joy. Quarantine may have given you time to reflect on what’s important to you – or not so important. Priorities may have shifted, or you may have realized that your life before didn’t look the way you want it to. Maybe there was no balance, maybe you simply weren’t enjoying the life you were leading. Now is the perfect opportunity to start afresh, cultivating new or different habits that could send you down a path toward your ideal lifestyle. All in all, adjusting to quarantine was hard. Re-adjusting to “normal” life again is also going to be hard. Post-quarantine life might look surprisingly different that pre-quarantine life, and that’s okay. Ease into your routine. Continue making time and space for yourself, and find a rhythm to life that feels nourishing to you.