“Back to Normal” After the Pandemic
by Erika Healy, RPN | Nurse Care Specialist, HumanaCare
In March 2020, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a worldwide pandemic. For some people that seems like a lifetime ago, while for others it feels just like yesterday. During the last eighteen months, most of us have had to adapt to a new routine, with changes being announced daily, including multiple lockdowns and waves of the pandemic. The way we socialized with family and friends completely changed, only seeing people through a screen.
As the world begins to slowly reopen and public health announcements lay the groundwork for lifting restrictions, many people may be feeling excited to get back to some normalcy. Most can’t wait to wrap their arms around children and grandchildren. However, some may feel anxious about a return to pre-pandemic life. Although the shift to reopening may seem like a light at the end of the tunnel, it can stir up fear of what the “new normal” will look like or how long it will last. The unclear timeline and uncertainty of when things will return to the “old normal” may evoke a wide range of emotions. It’s normal to feel some apprehension about returning to our pre-pandemic routines and increased social interaction. After all, we’ve been told that proximity to others comes with risk since the pandemic started. There are many ways to start to ease back into our normal everyday lives.
Tips to Cope with Reopening Fear and Anxiety
Set boundaries and go at your own pace:
Take it step by step. Do what is safe and comfortable for you and your loved ones. Everyone can decide on the level of risk they are willing to tolerate. Comfort levels may vary depending on a variety of factors, including vaccination status, personal beliefs, personal health status, health status of friends and family members, or even if they or someone they know contracted COVID-19.
Stay active and eat healthy:
Exercise has a proven positive effect on our mental and physical well-being. Find ways that you can fit exercise into your routine. Although you may not be ready to enter a gym just yet, try a walk outdoors or a home workout. There are lots of free online workouts that you can do from the comfort of your home.
Stick to a routine:
Routines offer a way to promote health and wellness through structure and organization and can allow you to build in time for the important things. Routines can help reduce stress, increase sleep quality, and improve overall physical and mental health.
Be patient and flexible:
People will approach the reopening differently. This is an adjustment period for everyone, and each individual will deal with it differently. Give yourself and others grace.
Practice mindfulness and pay attention to your body’s needs:
Some ways to clear your mind and ease anxiety include meditation, journaling, deep breathing, music, or a therapeutic bath. Find what works for you and work it into your routine.
Thinking of travelling:
Now that restrictions are beginning to ease, travel may be on the top of the list for some. The idea of travel after a worldwide pandemic can come with different emotions. Some can’t wait to book a flight to a sunny destination, while others prefer to push the pause button on travel for now. If the idea of travel appeals to you but you are feeling anxious about hopping on a plane, plan a trip close to home to ease back into the process. Another tip to ease travel anxiety is to pick a place that you have been before or is familiar to you. Anxiety comes from fear of the unknown, and by going somewhere you have been before, you will know what is involved in getting there and you may be familiar with accommodations. Travelling midweek is a good way to avoid larger crowds. You may want to consult a travel agent if you are thinking of travelling; they can guide you on the quarantine requirements where you are going and the need to present a negative COVID-19 test result before you leave for your destination, when you arrive, and when you return. They will also have knowledge of what restrictions are still in place around the world. Travel insurance is also important if you are thinking about travelling. Visit arta.net to stay up to date on your coverage as it relates to current travel advisories.
ARTACares is provided by HumanaCare, an Alberta-based health and wellness provider with more than thirty-five years of Canadian health care experience. For more information on health and wellness topics, webinars, and articles, visit your eldercare portal.