Will We Ever Return to Normal?

I feel like I have asked myself the question, “will we ever get back to normal?” several times a day over the last few weeks, as I’m sure many others have. And the answer that I keep telling myself is, “I’m not sure I want to.” 

Katie Greenleaf, LPCC recently shared a quote by Dave Hollis suggesting, “in the rush to return to normal, use this time to consider which parts of normal are worth rushing back to.” Since this pandemic, my anxiety has improved. Of course, I have concerns about others becoming infected and about the impact this has around the world, but my anxiety about where to be and who to see is not present because well, I have nowhere to be and no one to see. I am an extrovert by nature and am often recharged by being around people, but without the expectation of having to be a “yes” person who does everything or risk FOMO (fear of missing out), my day-to-day anxiety is minimal.  So, to go back to the quote above, when it is time to reintegrate ourselves with people, and the social isolation ban is lifted, how do we continue to live a life that might be a little calmer?

How do we decide what is more important, continuing to implement family walks and family dinners, or attending a friends’ birthday party? Can we reduce the feeling of having to post one more thing on social media that we did with our family and instead replace it with simply enjoying quiet moments at home filled with art projects, playing, and just talking to one another? 

As you think about the parts of normal that you want to get back to, consider the following:

  1. What have you enjoyed most about social isolation?
  2. Are there relationships that have been strengthened during this time?
  3. How has your family environment changed for the positive?
  4. Do you notice you are on screens less? Social media less?
  5. Are there aspects of your life that you thought were necessary, and you since have discovered they are not?
  6. What things have you been able to live without? 
  7. Have you made any personal commitments to yourself or changes that you want to keep?

As you reflect on some of these questions it would be great to sit down with your family and make a chart. Discuss how family life was BEFORE COVID-19 and identify several things that your family participated in or became part of your routine. Then identify how family life changed DURING COVID-19.  From there identify and prioritize what things/events/activities have become a priority moving forward. What do you want to keep doing and/or what do you want to stop doing?

On a personal note, as mentioned above, I am an extrovert and a “yes” person. If I reflect on the same questions and am totally honest with myself, I admit that I have really enjoyed staying home spending time with my family. It has been so nice to function without any timelines and expectations of where we have to go or what we have to do. After the social isolation ban is lifted, I would very much like this to be a priority with my family. Maybe not every weekend, but a few times a month that we can just be.

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