As friends around you adjust to post-pandemic life, how are you doing?
If you are struggling to get going again, you are not alone. The last fifteen months have been difficult. As a nation, we have been through trauma. We have been through not only a pandemic but we have collectively been through:
- The deaths of over half a million fellow Americans
- A divisive election
- The loss of jobs and closures of businesses
- The exhaustion of our healthcare workers and essential workers
- Protesting in the streets over the needless deaths of George Floyd and other black men
- Avoiding getting close to people or hugging them because of safety
- Losing our daily routines and often adopting unhealthy habits
- Working online, often with children in virtual classrooms at our sides
- Witnessing people waiting in very long lines just to get food on the table
- Experiencing natural disasters like tornadoes, ice storms, and wildfires
And it doesn’t stop. Now, as the nation opens up, we have severe drought in California, increased homelessness, a bigger class divide than ever, friends dealing with long-haul Covid, workplace and other mass shootings, and more divisiveness over masks and vaccines.
So how do we go on?
- Give ourselves permission to go slowly, one hour at a time.
- Give ourselves permission to feel the heaviness of the last year and to let it go by talking to others, sharing our feelings, taking walks in nature, joining support groups, and reaching out to friends we haven’t seen much during the pandemic.
- Write down three things we’re grateful for each day.
- Watch a sad movie to get in touch with our own grief and sadness so we can shed those muchly-needed tears.
- Stop comparing our problems to others’ problems because our problems deserve our attention, too, even if they don’t seem as bad.
- Host picnics in parks with our friends and family.
- Hug our children and grandchildren and others.
- Return to events in person if we’re healthy and vaccinated, and we continue to connect virtually if we’re immunocompromised.
- Listen closely to those who are hurting
- Get vaccinated and stay masked to protect those who don’t respond to vaccines.
And most importantly, we practice self-care and self-compassion, and we give compassion, empathy, and love to those around us.