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With the fall season upon us, it feels as if we may be entering a new beginning and seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. When we think of this past year, there were many moments that made us realize how connected we are.
As the saying by the 13th century Persian poet Sa’di goes, “Human beings are part of one large body; when one part suffers, so does the other.”
With the vaccinations that are happening across the country, and many people feeling that we are going back to our normal lives, the question is, “What is normal anymore?” Or another good question, “Is everything going to be the same after COVID-19?”
Following are some answers, along with tips on how we can best cope entering a post-pandemic world.
Wherever we go, one thing seems to be commonplace: People are continuing to wear masks. And although masks are still required in most areas of the country, and needed for safety, we may well experience a different world after we “take off” our masks completely.
In the end, we are social beings and have a divine desire to connect on a deeper level with the world around us. Below are seven simple tips on how we can confidently face the world after COVID-19 and alleviate the stress of a post-pandemic era, regardless of whether our masks will still be on:
Be kind to yourself and have patience. For the time it took to adjust to the changes of the pandemic, it may take equal time to adjust to “normal life,” and that is OK! Be patient and do what feels right when navigating reentering work, school or social engagements in-person.
Stick to a routine. It is important to keep doing the constructive activities that were adopted during the pandemic. Whether it is meditating, cooking or daily exercise, maintaining these positive habits will help ease the post-pandemic transition, as well as improve one’s overall quality of life.
Set some boundaries for yourself while respecting others as well. Moving forward, some jobs will remain virtual or will become a hybrid of online and in-person activities. For this purpose, it is important to draw a line between work, family time and self-care, as well as giving one another space.
Go slowly. Set aside time to reflect and identify some of the lessons learned during the stay-at-home order. Ask the question: What is really important to me? Then find ways to be comfortable doing those things one enjoys.
Adapt to the change and see the positive side of it. We cannot ignore the fact that COVID-19 has changed the way we relate to others, and especially to our work habits. The world is always changing, and we need to adapt to those changes. In a post-COVID era, technology seems to be at the center of our work and daily lives. Now we are able to hold large meetings over Zoom calls and not worry about the commute. Even though excessive use of technology may have a negative side to it, we need to focus on the positive, and cultivate what is working.
Breathe. Take a moment to practice some mindfulness. Come into your body in the present moment and get your thoughts out of the future. Slow down and take it one moment at a time. Say something kind to yourself. Realize you are not alone. Everyone is having a hard time. We all are just doing our best.
Consider seeking mental health counseling as a must, instead of an option. During the pandemic, we all experienced uncomfortable feelings that we might have been avoiding our entire life. Seeking a mental health professional and meeting regularly will help us to process those feelings and enable us to get in touch with our emotions on a deeper level.
COVID-19 is not here to stay, but one lasting trait in our psyche always seems to be our desire to have a deeper connection with oneself, with others and with the world around us.
It may be good to start preparing now for the post-pandemic era by asking ourselves: What is my role and purpose in this new world? The answer will be different for everyone. While this may be a heavy, soul-searching question, perhaps it’s still something to consider, as we all soon will enter a new world filled with exciting opportunities to better connect with other people, family and colleagues.