It’s been a minute since borders reopened and life rekindled, but living through the pandemic has changed us. 2022 holds promise and all most of us are hoping for is that it doesn’t turn into “2020 too”. Yet, it can be hard to shake our pandemic habits and readjust to a more normal life. In fact, it is common for some to have concerns or feel anxious about socialising and being out in public. You might feel intimidated, afraid, or insecure — these emotions are valid. COVID-19 is still at large, and regaining some form of normalcy should never come at the expense of health and safety. Fret not, here are some helpful tips to readjust to life after the pandemic.
Tip 1 — Make Plans
It sounds counterproductive given that the fear itself is a result of having to go outdoors and socialise, but the solution is to face it. For this transition to be as natural as possible, reach out to those near and dear. Be it a best friend, relative, or someone that stuck through the pandemic beside you, make plans to meet up with someone that you feel comfortable around. Moreover, it’s important to do something fun! You remember all the plans made during the lockdown, castles in the clouds and dreams of a vacation? #YOLO, go do those things! Just be cautious and practice the SOPs.
Most of all, don’t be too hard on yourself. You might feel like lounging at home in PJs and binging Emily in Paris, and that’s OK. It’s important to realise that readjusting takes time, so cut yourself some slack and take things one step at a time. Besides, remaining indoors helps curb the spread of the virus. Readjusting doesn’t just entail going out, but rather learning to have fun and spend time with our loved ones in safe environments. Host a board game night, invite some friends over for dinner, or turn that binge into a Netflix watch party — the possibilities are endless!
Tip 2 — Practice Self-Care
Okay, this one is subjective. You might be one of the go-getters that capitalised on the lockdown to soak up some self-care — meditation, mani-pedis, the works. However, if you’re like me and lost all sense of time during the pandemic, here are some tips to reconfigure that messed up sleep schedule and curb that junk food addiction. First off, decide on one thing to do for YOURSELF each morning- Caps Lock intended. Be it hitting the gym, journaling, or working on a personal project, the most crucial thing is doing what’s most important to YOU. You’ll find that focusing on self-improvement helps us rebuild confidence and ease back into socialising. Next, realign your surroundings with your goals. Here, it’s important to focus on the little habits that we want to break or inculcate. Junk food? Restock the cabinets with healthier snacks. Wanna read more? Place a book someplace where you tend to unwind. Even the smallest environmental shift can have a significant impact on your productivity.
Tip 3 — It’s Not an Introvert vs. Extrovert Problem
This one is more of a mindset shift. Often, people are told that introverts have trouble readjusting to life because of their nature while extroverts face no issues at all. However, that is far from the truth — socialising is a skill, one that requires consistent practice. Yes, extroverts might readjust to life sooner, but that does not mean all extroverts had their cheeks pressed against the window, waiting to be let outdoors again … nor does it mean that all introverts are fated to suffer from social anxiety and FOMO. It’s important to recognise that there is no “correct” time frame for readjusting to life after the pandemic.
Tip 4 — Embrace Change
It’s going to be uncomfortable at first, but learning to embrace change is the single most crucial step to navigating life post-pandemic. You should jump on opportunities to explore hobbies and places, test boundaries, and meet new people. It might be nerve-racking, but all good things are a product of change. Don’t hesitate, follow your heart. Like Martin Luther King said, “Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”
Before I sign off, let this be a reminder that there are others out there struggling too. You’re not alone. 2020 and 2021 have taught us to cherish our time, health, freedom, and relationships. Our efforts to reconnect must not come at the cost of our health and safety. It is important to strike a balance, and make the most of our not-so-new normal. You got this. Your friends at EchoMedia are cheering for you.