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A New Normal? Navigating Feelings About the World Opening Back Up.

Over the past two months, we have collectively experienced a first.  For most of us, we have never lived through a pandemic and all that comes with it.  We have examined how to adjust to the changes, looked at how to manage our anxiety in the midst of it all, and attempted to cultivate new normals in regards to relationships, our mental health, and our daily routine.

 

But after all the figuring out a new normal, now we are opening back up.  Many of us are going back into offices, many of us are spending time with more people, and many of us are venturing out more.  And it is wonderful!   However with the reentry into “normal” life comes a whole host of questions: What is safe?  How much should I still worry about getting sick?  

 

Over the past ten weeks we have created a new sense of regular.  If you are like me, you may feel like you are walking on shaky ground as we take steps forward into what is next.  Some things you and I can consider as we navigate “opening up”.

 

You are not alone

I find a lot of comfort in knowing that no one knows what is coming next any more than I do.  It helps me know that in navigating my fears about stepping back into a sense of normal life, I am not alone.  Talk to any friend, family member, and coworker about their feelings about opening up and going back to normal and you will likely hear an echo of your own thoughts.  We mostly all want to get back to a sense of normalcy, however have trepidation about doing so or doing so too quickly.  For many of us, we have a loved one that is more vulnerable or we ourselves are in the vulnerable category.  While we want to protect them, there is no clarity on what extent we need to go to protect ourselves and those around us.

 

The beauty of this is that we are in it together.  For the first time that I can remember, there is a collective human experience that unites most everyone.  

 

There is no formula for this

On any given day and from any given source for news, there is differing information.  We hear conflicting reports about what is safe and what isn’t, whether the numbers are trending for better or worse, and what might be coming in the future.  The truth is, there is no “right” way to do this next.  For each of us and our families, we must consider our unique situations, the information we have, what the experts are saying to us, and what is the best choice for us as individuals.  

 

Minimize how much of the time you worry about future unknowns

As a mom of four school-aged children, I really REALLY want school to open back up in the fall.  We have all learned around here that I am a much better mom than teacher!  If I focus too much on what may or may not happen in the fall, I begin to feel overwhelmed.  For me, considering the future and dwelling on the uncertainty in it all are two very different things.

 

While making a plan and considering future choices can be wise, we must challenge ourselves about the difference between problem-solving and ruminating.  Are you actively working to problem solve?  Or are you worrying?  Attempt to set limits about how much time you dwell on the parts you do not yet have the information to think through can be helpful in helping avoid fear and unnecessary anxiety.

 

Continue to make healthy choices

For much of the quarantine time, we considered how to care for ourselves.  We exercised, prayed, reached out to connect with people, made self-care a priority, worked on strengthening our relationships, and spent time investing in ourselves.  As we navigate the world opening up in small increments and we consider how to do life in a new normal way, let’s not put aside the efforts we have made to care for ourselves physically, mentally, and spiritually.

 

We are here for you at AWCC!  Contact us at 832.421.8714 to schedule counseling.

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Kristin King

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