Feeling over the COVID-19 pandemic? Read On!
By Ruth Mendelson, MSW, LCSW
It’s the thought running through our heads during a long road trip. “Are we there yet?” “How much longer?” “I just want to be there already!”
Is there a memory that pops up for you? Many of us are all too familiar with hearing phrases like these from the backseat, and truth be told, uttering them to ourselves.
One way of looking at the journey that has been the COVID-19 pandemic is as if it’s been a long ride out on the open road. A road trip we are all still on, which doesn’t have an exact estimated time of arrival. We have been navigating this road for over a year. We have had holidays, birthdays, school, work, births, deaths, sickness, and health. Countless milestones have happened, yet we are still out on the open road, still not quite sure when we will get there. And what will it look like when we do?
Many of us are feeling ready for what comes next. And many of us are not. Many feel conflicted and mixed. We are wondering when and what will the “new normal” be like?
Are you feeling hopeful that the answer might soon be “yes” to the “are we there yet” question? Because the weather is getting warmer, trees are blossoming, flowers are blooming, and springtime is here, it is becoming easier to be outside again. There is less of a reason to be cooped up!
In addition, people are getting vaccinated. The CDC has provided new guidelines for those that have been vaccinated. Many people are looking at these signs and loosening their grip on some of the still necessary COVID-19 safety measures and protocols.
We can and should feel optimistic about the coming end of the pandemic, but we still aren’t there yet. And there are still many questions that need to be answered.
While there are many people getting vaccinated and feeling more optimistic about the coming days, there are many still struggling with questions about vaccination and wondering about getting it. It is possible and quite real to be optimistic and struggling all at once.
We are faced with all sorts of new worries. We are thinking about the risk involved with mixing vaccinated and unvaccinated people. Many are having thoughts about returning to “normal.” Some workplaces are planning back to the office strategies, and schools are working on their continued transition plans. It can feel like there are more questions than answers.
- How will the job industry change?
- What will the traditional work setting be?
- Is it really safe to be outside the home?
- I have got used to this lifestyle, how can I make yet another change?
So many adjustments and adaptations have been made since March 2020. Many are asking, What will the future bring?
Unanswered questions like these can bring up more anxiety during a time where people are already feeling the impact of prolonged stress.
We are still facing feelings of loneliness, social isolation, depression, anger, and exhaustion. We are managing chronic stress which can make it harder to handle the ups and downs life throws at us. So many of the stress-relieving outlets we would typically utilize have been taken away from us (movie theater, out to dinner, exercise class, sports games, concerts). It is essential that we remember to look out for ourselves and as we await the staggered return of these outlets, we need to prioritize our well-being.
Here are some tips to take care of yourself while we wait for answers to come.
For those feeling “over it,” now is not the time to become complacent in our efforts to see ourselves through this pandemic. As we prepare to meet the “new normal,” some people are feeling burnt out. There has been so much waiting.
It is always helpful to take steps toward Self-Care. Self-Care activities are any that promote well-being and reduce stress.
Here are some of my favorite examples:
- Baking something scrumptious
- Going for a walk outdoors
- Finding a new hobby or game to play with family
- Watching a favorite funny movie
- Practice Mindfulness
- Learn how to self-soothe with the 5 senses
- Sight: sit in a garden and notice what you can see around you
- Hearing: listen to music
- Smell: pay attention to the smells around you (cooking, garden, woods)
- Taste: savor a tasty treat (I prefer a brownie!)
- Touch: float in a bubble bath, or cuddle with your softest blanket
If you are feeling the stressors of the pandemic become more and more difficult to manage, and the message of this blog resonates with you, please reach out. A licensed therapist or counselor can support you during this time of transition and change.
Ruth enjoys spending time with her family, friends and dog. She loves to cook, spend time outdoors and go to the beach (even when it’s cold outside).
Check out Ruth’s professional bio here!
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Next Steps & Resources
- Are you ready to take your first step? Reach out to us.
- Do you feel that you or your child or teen may benefit from counseling during this time? Take the first step.
- Interested in online counseling? Learn more.
- Learn about pandemic fatigue
- How to prevent pandemic burnout