This week the CDC issued guidance on relaxing COVID-19 restrictions. Within my diverse social circles, the news has been both distressing and exciting.
As we prepare for the world to re-open, it’s understandable to feel ambivalent. Even for those who have strong opinions about the guidance on either end of the extreme, there is likely to be some doubt and insecurity that lurks beneath the surface generating more questions than answers. Is it safe to travel? If people who haven’t been vaccinated stop wearing masks will me and my loved ones be at greater risk? Will there be another surge? What about our children who don’t yet qualify to receive the vaccine?
There will be many more questions that arise in the coming weeks along with changes such as office re-openings, removal of mask requirements in public spaces and increased travel, just to name a few.
So how do we approach re-entry and the return to “normal”?
My good friends Maggie Reyes and Dr. Michelle Pearce had an enlightening conversation on this topic offering practical wisdom and sage advice.
You can listen to their conversation on iTunes, https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-marriage-life-coach-podcast/id1497166414?i=1000521036558
Here are a few of my takeaways from their interview to help you navigate the transition:
Remember your power to choose
We always have an opportunity to choose what’s next...in our life, our relationships and our career. It’s easy to believe that we don’t have any say in how we live certain aspects of our life. When you say “I have to get up and go to work”, know that whether consciously or unconsciously you are making a decision to go to work on a day to day basis. It may be because you are inspired by the work that you do, you’re motivated by the compensation you receive or you fear the repercussions of not showing up. Regardless of your reasons, you get to choose. Understanding that simple, powerful truth can make all the difference in the world.
Intentionally create your “new normal”
For many of us, the pandemic provided an opportunity for us to slow down and pause the busyness that was our daily existence. As the world opens back up, you can be more deliberate about the life you want to create. In talking to family, friends and colleagues over the past year, many expressed how grateful they were for more quality time spent with family and a slower pace of life. There were also concerns about increased snacking and lack of consistent movement that resulted in unintentional weight gain as well as increased use of substances like alcohol and recreational drugs to manage increased anxiety and depressive symptoms. Take some time to reflect on the past year and determine what worked and what didn’t. Note anything you felt was missing. Then, be selective about what you keep and what you let go of.
As Dr. Pearce said, “We get to imagine, recreate and renegotiate what our lives are going to look like moving forward.” For me, I realized how much I was craving more space and time to simply unplug and give myself permission to rest mentally, emotionally and physically. At the start if this month, I set an intention to nurture all aspects of my being. I will allow this intention to guide my decisions over the coming months, saying no to things that will make it difficult for me to truly nurture myself and cultivate greater physical and emotional well-being.
Go at your own pace
You may or may not be feeling ready to return to life as we knew it. Honestly, I don’t think it’s possible for us to go ack to the way things were. The past year has been traumatic for many and as with any form of trauma, it takes time to heal. Only you will know what makes sense for you. Don’t dismiss that inner guidance. Our approach to life in a post-COVID-19 world will not look the same for everyone. Go at your own pace. Be patient with yourself and with your loved ones. During this time of tremendous change, practice kindness and compassion, for yourself and others and suspend judgment. We will come through this stronger. And we will heal.
It helps me to remember that I’m not in this alone. And to honor my feelings as they arise...taking each day as it comes and not leaping to far into the future.
I’m curious to know how you are feeling about the guidance and how you plan to navigate this transition. Let me know in the comments below or send me a personal message via email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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