We’re not out of this thing yet as evidenced by the tragic surges unfolding in Covid hot spots in the world. But we sure are miles ahead of the dark days and unknowns of the past year. There are many reasons to celebrate the incredible job the country is doing in getting control of the pandemic with mindful behavior and vaccinations. Clearly by the decreasing numbers it is working! Many are feeling great optimism, reveling in the warm rays of spring and feeling more freedom to safely engage in their favorite activities, connect with people, travel as their anxiety baselines slowly settle back down.
But not everyone.
Do you still feel preoccupied, worried or unsure? Are you fully vaccinated but notice you feel hesitant to leap out into the world as you see other people doing? Do you notice anxious thoughts still tapping on your shoulder?
Despite the signs that things are moving towards normalcy, relief and joy so palpable in many, we all experienced and bore witness to this last year. Life as we knew it came grinding to a halt with all of the consequences along with it. Something like this is not to be forgotten for anyone.
Those with a tendency for anxiety pre-Covid, who were even more vulnerable to the emotional toll of this experience, may find themselves more challenged to pull away from it as well. There was a conditioning for fear and uncertainty on so many levels in this experience. You may have to to re-learn what is safe, to have a number of positive experiences in the world and with others to re-wire your brain for more optimism. This comes with time and consistent conclusions drawn that things are actually ok.
And then there are some who may be less connected to feeling anxious but who have simply changed over the pandemic. Their pandemic habits may have led them to be different after Covid. Perhaps you’ve gotten more in touch with your introverted side over the many months of being around far fewer people, or perhaps alone. It wouldn’t be hard to believe that you have become quite comfortable with continuing on as such. Even as you see your more extroverted-leaning friends gleefully burst through their doors in a full sprint towards their like-minded others. Good for them!
I’ve noticed myself enjoying a lot of activities as I used to (tennis, socializing in small groups, youth sport photography) but also finding myself perfectly content puttering around at home. But I’ve always resourced from being alone, drawn my energy from quiet time. This aspect has definitely become more pronounced as a result of being forced inside for the last year. I have observed a few friends and clients in my therapy practice having similar shifts.
And there are those generally more watchful and observant before making moves. They are taking note of what’s unfolding around vaccine numbers, Covid illness, variants and other aspects still unwinding and unfolding. Maybe you’re one of these types who are not in a rush yet are simultaneously feeling optimism, looking forward to your day in the sun that you believe is coming soon.
If you’ve not quite lept out into the world at this point in the pandemic, there is nothing wrong with you. You can trust it is quite normal and indeed how many others are also behaving. Perhaps you resonate with one of the general types (or a combo) above; still anxious, a reinforced introvert or a mindful watcher. Regardless, it’s important you make room for yourself in the process of re-emerging from the pandemic. People are doing this in the ways that make sense for them.
As much as Covid is still unfolding, perhaps you are too.
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