Post-Pandemic Life: Go Easy on Yourself

Samantha Gades/Unsplash

Mia Petruccelli/Staff Writer

Well, here we are. Another step forward from one very challenging year. Almost everyone is getting vaccinated, readjusting back into pre-pandemic life, or both. But why doesn’t it feel the same?

I’ve noticed that I am exhausted by the simplest conversation, or even just leaving the house. I’ve been vaccinated for four months now and have participated in events that I haven’t been involved in since before COVID-19, and these strange feelings continue to linger.

I feel like my mental health really benefited from the social retreat that quarantine caused, allowing me to really assess what was challenging me regarding my mental health, and I was granted the time to work on it. But did I take it too far and spent too much time alone?

 Over the last year, we were faced with extreme lifestyle changes that took a long time to adjust to; think back to that time, was it difficult or easy for you to adjust to quarantine life? You will probably say it was difficult, but you never really realized it because it was something you did alone or with someone you are familiar with. 

Today, people around you are joining society and you are being pushed to do the same: Work requesting you come in three days a week, missed calls, birthday invitations, weddings, you name it. Who wouldn’t be overwhelmed by all of that? 

As a person who is just beginning the journey of independent life, it is incredibly difficult to let go of the “year lost” due to the pandemic. Perhaps that is why some of your friends, family, or colleagues sprang into action and joined society in the blink of an eye. Just because it is hard for you to do the same, does not mean that you are lacking something that they have. Not to mention that his transition exists alongside social media and the challenge of trying not to compare yourself to others. The key to making it through this adjustment back into society is patience. Acknowledge that anxiety may arise and be gentle with yourself.  These are some practices you can use to alleviate this transition:

I try to make a point to leave my house every day. Even if it’s a trip to the grocery store or a coffee run, normalizing leaving the house for smaller things will make your commutes to work and school less anxiety-provoking. Another practice I am trying to adopt is engaging in conversation other than texting. After such a long period of time using mostly our phones to communicate with friends, it may feel intimidating to meet up in person. You can ease this worry by having a quick phone call with them or make a dinner recipe together on Zoom. 

Along with the topic of a group preparing dinner over zoom, enjoying a meal with your friends or partner is a great way to ease back into socializing. As you are surrounded by others and have the same interest: enjoying a meal, the occasion flows naturally.  

An important factor to consider is what you find to be truly important in your life at this moment in time. Perhaps, some stress that you may be feeling now is not triggered by the challenge of rejoining “normal” life. If you can recollect times when you were overwhelmed pre-pandemic, you could evaluate what has continued to be important to you. Then, you can let go of the parts of your life that make your days feel heavy. 

Balance brings the greatest success. Granting yourself a day to be alone occasionally is necessary for a healthy relationship with yourself. It is common to feel drained by constant socializing. I guarantee that almost everyone has felt socially tapped-out even before the spread of Covid-19. Allowing yourself to have time to recharge and be with yourself when you are feeling drained is incredibly beneficial to your mental health. This is a great time to practice mindfulness.  

The most important thing to remember while going through this transition is to go at your own pace and do not be afraid to set boundaries. If you feel that you are getting anxious at a social event or feel out of your comfort zone, do not be afraid to excuse yourself and recollect. Acknowledging your limits and granting yourself time to settle will help to alleviate any anxiety that arises in the future; if you do it once, you can do it again! 

Ultimately, this past year has created the internal challenge of evaluation. If there is one thing that I have learned from my experience in the pandemic, it is that normalcy is unachievable and the most important relationship in your life is the one you have with yourself. Nurture it!  


The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of PantherNOW Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.

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Photo by Samantha Gades via Unsplash.

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