Transitioning to a Post-COVID World
It has been nearly 18 months since the world was blindsided by the COVID-19 pandemic and our sense of normalcy dramatically altered. We have had to adapt in a ferocious way – from working from home and homeschooling our children, to practicing high-level safety precautions and enduring months spent isolating from those we hold dearest. For many, this has been a time of despair, with mental health crises reaching worrying highs, and a time of grief, as many of us coped with the passing of loved ones. At times, it felt like our world would never feel normal again.
With vaccination programs well under way, we are all casting our eyes ahead to a post-COVID-19 world where we can start to live, work, and play as we once did. While these prospects hold out new hope for lifted restrictions and a return to our old ways of being, settling back into pre-COVID routines will take some adjustment. As you contemplate a return to your personal definition of a normal life, what do you notice in yourself? What thoughts, feelings, or fears surface as you anticipate these changes?
Any time of transition, even if perceived as largely positive, tends to bring stress as people adapt and adjust to their new normal. Processes that involved such growing pains to implement may now invoke similar challenges to reverse (such as employees who scrambled to work from home, now must pivot their lives and return to their places of work). Concerns involving childcare, health and wellness, long commutes and transportation challenges, and increased time away from the home may all disrupt the routines and rituals we have painstakingly instituted to cope with the pandemic.
During times of transition, it is especially important to plan and prioritize your wellness and self-care. Consider expected changes and adaptations in your daily routines, self-care needs, stress management strategies, and relationships when thinking about transitioning back to your post-COVID life.
Here are some tips for coping with this new transition:
- For those used to working from home and now must return to the office, see if you can slowly transition back to an in-office role over days or weeks.
- Continue to practice safety and good handwashing hygiene to promote wellness at home and at work.
- Lean on others for social support as needed to reduce isolation and nourish relationships, especially those that may have grown more distant over the course of the pandemic.
- At the same time, accept that it is ok to say “no” to social engagements if you do not feel ready to jump back into a busy social life. Balance is key.
- Prioritize and practice effective self-care (nutrition, exercise, sleep, time for self, social support), scheduling and looking to others for support with this as needed.
- Establish good routines (e.g. morning coffee, afternoon walk, bath before bed, etc.).
- Explore a new hobby or interest to help balance work and personal life.
- Find opportunities to plan ahead for life’s challenges (e.g. meal plan and prep so you aren’t facing the question of dinner after a long commute and day at the office).
- Plan something fun or relaxing in the future so you have something to look forward to.
You know yourself best; taking care of yourself during times of transition can help to minimize stress and make the process go more smoothly. If you would like additional support managing these changes, please reach out to our counselling department today for a free consultation or to schedule an appointment.
Author: Jennifer Baker, M.Ed., Registered Clinical Counsellor
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