There was a point last spring where things were getting back to normal. The masks were slowly coming off and we were seeing each other’s smiles again! I remember the joy of being able to confidently hug my loved ones, go see a concert, and spend time with friends that I had not seen for an extended period of time. Then suddenly Omicron appeared last winter to ruin the fun for everyone. Unfortunately, the necessity to bring back mask mandates and social distancing was apparent in order for us all to stay safe. It felt devastating to have those precious remnants of normal life that I took for granted disappear… again. As a mental health provider I was very concerned about how this change would affect my clients, and even my friends and family.
Now that COVID-19 cases are falling, we are seeing mask mandates lifting and have been transitioning back to seeing clients in person again. Telehealth will continue to be an option for those who don’t feel comfortable coming into the office. Personally, I find seeing my clients in person to be an enriching experience and something I certainly don’t take for granted anymore.
This isn’t the first time we are making this shift back to “normalcy” as a community, which will hopefully be helpful in re-adjusting. We have been in constant uncertainty for 2 years which has been quite difficult. Though we are moving back to “normal” we cannot ensure that there will not be another variant, which can certainly can be anxiety provoking. My suggestion is to look at the present through a lens of mindfulness, that you try and enjoy every moment of today for today, because anything could change tomorrow.
Here are some tips to help us adjust back to the “new” normal.
- Create an art project out of your old masks
- Try and get accustomed to your mind not needing to assess risk and safety, which can take a while. Just notice your thoughts and remind yourself that it is safer now to reconnect with others.
- Be kind and patient with yourself and remember that everyone adjusts at different paces.
- If you feel safer wearing a mask still, go for it!
- Create a list of things you are grateful for that you didn’t have, or had less of when social distancing was in full effect. Keep your list in a special place or add it to a vision board to stay grateful.
- Reconnecting with friends or family can be awkward, and that’s okay! Some icebreakers or doing a fun activity together outside can help.
- Have an exit plan for the first time you are in a large crowd again.
- Grieve ambiguous loss by acknowledging what you have lost to the best of your ability, even if you are unsure of exactly what those things may be. Celebrate what you have now that things are getting better again!
As you are re-adjusting please remember that we are here to support you. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to your therapist if you are in need. Remember that we are all in this together, and I suggest you do the best you can to adjust while having patience and compassion for yourself.
Wishing you peace and joy,
Andrew Halpern, LPC
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