Over the course of the last few months, fears and anxieties have plagued the numbers. The recent health crisis has created panic in even the most stable of individuals and households. The fear of getting sick and losing loved ones from a horrible virus has penetrated our minds and hearts as we’ve taken in thousands of articles, press conferences, and personal accounts.
We have been advised to avoid contact with our friends and families all in the name of keeping ourselves and others safe and alive. We have been living under pressures unfamiliar to our systems as we’ve worked to navigate the day to day realities of an emergency lock down. Spending round the clock days with kids and partners, responsible for each and all needs of those dependent on us has left us burnt out and depleted.
Schedules we have adhered to have been completely broken, habits changed, and relationships of all kinds have changed from friendly and warm to fearful and avoidant.
Adapting to the ‘new normal’ over the last few months has drained the internal resources of so many. From connecting virtually with friends and family members, to practicing mindfulness meditation, to learning new skills – people have pushed themselves to be okay in a time that feels everything but.
And now, we are being told that the world is re-opening. Many stores, businesses, and offices are calling their employees back to work.
Whether we are pleased to be heading back to work or not, I continue to hear uncertainty and anxiety in the voices of those I speak to and work with. The unknowns are still completely overwhelming to many.
Recognizing this new phase as yet another change to adapt to, take some time to reflect on some ways you can keep yourself as strong as possible. Here are a few tips to managing your emotional and physical wellbeing during these times.
Wellbeing Tips in the Face of Re-Opening
1. Anticipate Some Struggle
Once again, our systems are being forced to acclimate to circumstances that are completely outside of our control. Whether we are ready to ‘re-open’ or not – . If we hold ourselves and others to the same standards we had prior to the pandemic, we will most likely be disappointed at best; so expect yourself and others to have changed or diminished capacities for performance and energy levels.
Go easy on yourself, and those around you.
2. Expect Moodiness
This will be emotionally challenging. If you experience your personal and professional relationships feeling somewhat strained, try not to take it personally. Each individual will be dealing with their own internal experiences and is likely to need some time to process these changes in their own time and manner.
3. Listen to Yourself Whenever Possible.
There are certain parts of your reality that you might not feel like you have much of a say in these days. This feeling can create unrest in the mind and body.
Tune into your body any chance you have. Notice if you’re feeling tense or uneasy – is there something in that moment you can offer yourself (eg. Deep breaths, a glass of water, reaching out to a friend) that can serve as a reminder that you are autonomous and in control of your state of mind.
4. Establish Boundaries.
Some people have expressed feeling uncertain as to what to believe or how to feel. Many have taken to sharing their personal opinions as a way to feel more in control in times of complete chaos. As we move forward with more frequent face to face interactions, we may be exposed to some of these opinions at inopportune times like at work or over lunch break.
Create boundaries for yourself, and be firm. Know what you are comfortable discussing and what you will walk away from. Prepare yourself by having a plan in place for how you might respond to an uncomfortable interaction.
5. Find an Outlet
You will experience thoughts, feelings, and reactions around these new expectations and changes. Some of these may be conflicting, confusing, and challenging. Give yourself the opportunity to process whatever comes up for you in a manner that makes sense to you. Journalling, movement/exercise, or connecting with a trusted confidant can all be wonderful tools to help you work through the range of emotions that might come up for you.
6. Self Care. Self Care. Self Care.
Whatever you can do in these times to nurture your wellbeing, try to make that your focus. Remember that some version of normalcy will eventually return. In the meantime, do what you need to do to nurture yourself as your system adapts to yet another new normal.
Whatever tools you have in your tool belt, now is most definitely the time to utilize them. Remember to be compassionate to yourself and to those around you. The fears and anxieties that have been present for many have yet to be extinguished. Re-learning to function and interact with others amidst a very new and strange social climate will be hard.
Be gentle, and take of yourself whenever and however possible!
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