after the pandemic

The Challenge of Returning to Life After Isolation

As more and more people become vaccinated against COVID-19 and restrictions over social activities lift, many feel excited, relieved, and eager to get back to the lives they had before the pandemic. However, returning to our pre-pandemic lives might present some challenges. Some of us might feel reluctant or anxious about getting back to normal.

How Can We Return to Normal?

Many of us might question whether returning to normal is possible. Following such a life-changing experience, can we expect normalcy? Will things ever go back to what they once were? Returning to our regular lives following long periods of isolation and disruptions will not be like flipping a light switch. The truth is, our lives will likely be altered in some ways without a total return to normal. 

Embracing and Resisting Change

When circumstances occur beyond our control, we can introduce a great deal of stress into our lives with denial or resistance to change. Some people feel that restrictions were too strict; others thought that they were not enough. Either way, the pandemic and the subsequent safety measures put into place were primarily outside of our control. However, we can control our response to the changes and disruptions that have occurred in our lives.

While most people would agree that the pandemic was not a good thing, they found silver linings. Perhaps they realized how important their families were to them. Many needed to isolate themselves with only those within their households. Some might have fostered stronger bonds with their children and spouses. As things return to normalcy, they might feel anxious over potentially losing these bonds as children get out of the house more for their own pursuits.

Other people might have become stressed due to the constraints of remaining within their homes. The pandemic might have caused marital strife due to pressures and stress on relationships pushed to the breaking point. Will these relationships heal just because we can go outside without masks? We might need to accept that the pandemic has changed all of us, for better or for worse, and begin moving forward to shape the world in the way we chose. Perhaps our past “normal” wasn’t working in the first place, and we are reluctant to go back.

In the Natural Flow of Life

Many feel that the pandemic happened to us as an outer disruptive force, impacting our everyday lives. However, tragedy, disruption, change—all of these challenges are a part of life. Rarely do we collectively experience such monumental shifts on a broad scale, where the same events simultaneously impact everyone. We all experience loss in life and cope with change, whether the death of a loved one, losing a job, or a breakup. We learn to accept that these things are a part of life—as natural as birth, joy, achievement, and calm. 

Yet, we might feel that the pandemic is an exception to the natural flow of our lives. We might want to treat the pandemic like discarded film on the cutting room floor. This event was never supposed to happen, and we can just pretend it never did. However, to move forward, we need to accept how we have changed and how we were affected by this trying time in our lives.

Hesitancy to Return to Normal

When faced with stressful events, we realize what is and is not working in our lives. Many felt somewhat relieved by working from home or getting a break, despite the circumstances. Now that they can return to their regular life, they might not want to. Others might fear the unknown and the fragility of life, holding back from returning to normal now that they realize what they love can be taken away swiftly. 

Both of these forms of hesitancy keep us from growing from this tragic, life-altering event. If we are not learning from this experience, we leave ourselves vulnerable to further pain and loss in our lives. We need to be honest with ourselves about what was and what was not working in life before the pandemic. Perhaps, we need to speak up more moving forward about when we want a break or a change. We might have realized what truly mattered to us the most and need to hold onto these feelings, remembering never to forget to embrace our loved ones whenever we can.

The challenge of returning to our everyday life after long periods of isolation and disruption lies in how we accept change. Are we trying to run from challenges or learn from them? The pandemic tested all of us, proving that our resiliency and strength can get us through whatever challenges face us moving forward.

As we begin to come out of isolation from the pandemic and get back to normalcy, some might feel hesitant. They might not be ready to return to their pre-pandemic lives, either out of anxiety over uncertainty or fear of returning to a normal that was not working for them. We might need to change our perspective on the event entirely. Many feel that the pandemic was a disruptive part of life, which is best left forgotten as we go back to life as if it never happened. However, tragedy, loss, grief, and sadness are all a part of our everyday lives. We can learn to grow and build resiliency on moving forward from this event. Some might struggle more than others due to the impact of isolation on mental health. If your child struggles with mental health concerns or addiction, Fire Mountain Residential Treatment Center is here to help you get your kid back. Call us today at (303) 443-3343.

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