So is life returning to normal? Parents are back to work, kids have started daycare, and schools are opening, slowly. Yet, we are a long way from a complete recovery. For many, in fact, this period of transition may be even more difficult, than the harshest days of lockdown, when we were not allowed out more than 100 meters from our homes.
Surprising as it may be, this time of transition may be the most challenging days of the corona crisis we have experienced. When we were in lockdown, uncertainty and the lack of control reigned supreme, and fear was a constant companion. Yet, there was a feeling that indoors, inside my own house, my family would be safe from the ravages of COVID-19. Once we got our footing, and learned to negotiate this new terrain, we found that a schedule was helpful to mold our days. We learned what kinds of things made us feel better, whether it was an online yoga class, a family Zoom party, or reading a book. Over the last few months, we got a handle on things. We regained a semblance of control during this uncontrollable time.
With the relaxing of many restrictions, and the return of some of our children to something that resembles a classroom, the structures we built to protect ourselves and our loved ones is crumbling. Anxiety is on the upswing again, and uncertainty reigns. Who can I visit? How close can I get? Must I wear a mask?
So, during this confusing time I would like to offer you a couple of suggestions that may help you navigate your way as we come out of lockdown into a new reality.
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Compassion: Be compassionate to yourself and to other. This is a time to leave criticism and judgement by the wayside. Be kind to yourselves. If you are feeling anxious, uncertain, tired, or downright cranky, pat yourself on the back and say it’s okay. Be kind to the people around you as well. They too may be going through a difficult time of their own.
Flexibility: Flexibility is one of the cornerstones of resilience. This is the time when we need flexibility more than ever. You may decide one day to venture out, go some place you haven’t been in awhile. Check in with yourself. How does it feel? How do you feel? If you are feeling good, that is wonderful. If you are feeling concerned or anxious, feel free to take two steps back, and try something else. Remember that people are different, and what is right for you may not be the same thing that is right for the next guy.
Perspective: Keep in mind that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. This interim phase will not last forever. This is temporary. While we don’t know how long this in between state will last, perhaps a few weeks, maybe a couple of months, one thing we can be sure. It will not last forever. Keeping that in mind, and maintaining a sense of hope is critical at this time.
Continue doing the things that helped you during lockdown. If a daily schedule was helpful, continue making one. Don’t forget physical exercise, and staying in contact with loved ones. Things that help you to feel good are the things you should be doing.
Gratefulness: Count your blessings and remember all the things you are grateful for. Do it every day. Make a list- either mental or written (written is actually more powerful according to studies in the psychological literature) of at least three things you are grateful for every day.
Life is always dynamic, and all the more so during times of crisis. While the corona crisis may be winding down and on the way out, we seem to have to recreate ourselves, almost daily. This can be tiring. It can be exhilarating. Navigating new and challenging roads takes a lot of energy and patience. Let’s be good to ourselves, and to those around us.