New “Norm”: Life after COVID-19
By: Talin Honarchian, MA, LMFT
In recent months, many of us have experienced feelings of fear and worry as we entered into a historical COVID-19 quarantine. We were faced with challenges as new rules and regulations were set and wearing a mask became second nature for going to the grocery store to grab some essentials items. Most of us did not know what to expect when we entered this quarantine or how to adjust our daily lives. As quarantine restrictions are lessened, we are faced with new challenges that add to our feelings of fear and worry. I myself have been eagerly waiting for the days to be able to comfortably sit at a restaurant or enjoy a movie at the theaters with a friend. However, will returning back to the new “norm” be as pleasant as we imagined it to be?
What will this new norm look like at our work environment? How will I greet my coworkers and friends that I have not seen for several weeks? Will I feel safe in the public? These may be some of the questions that you are asking yourself moving forward from the stay at home measures. While the answers may not be clear at first, it is important to remember to take it a day at a time. Just as we adjusted to staying home, we can anticipate an adjustment as we return to what we hope to be our regular lives.
Here are some helpful tips to adjusting back to our normal lives as quarantine restrictions are lifted.
1. Take it a step at a time. Although restrictions are lifted, it’s up to you to take it at your own pace and check in with your comfort level as you reintegrate yourself back into the public. Create healthy boundaries for yourself and know that your level of comfort may differ from friends and family around you. It is okay to give yourself additional space and time needed to slowly adjust back.
2. Mentally prepare yourself for new challenges and protocols in your work or school environment. Although these new protocols are set to keep you safe, it may take time to adjust to the new levels of stress.
3. Continue to set a routine. As important as it was to set a routine during the quarantine, it will be equally as important and helpful to continue to set a routine after quarantine. Routine helps us cope with change and stress, as we know what to expect in a time of uncertainty.
4. Keep calm and focus on areas that you can control. Putting energy and focus on areas outside of our control will not only increase stress, but can be mentally draining. Spend your energy on areas you can control, such as taking extra precautions. This will not only protect you, but can help ease some of your anxiety around COVID-19 and adjusting back to a “normal” life style.
It’s also important to keep in mind that mental health has been a major topic associated with the quarantine and although stay at home restrictions are slowly being lifted, the effects may linger as we continue to adjust and find a new “norm”.
Talin Honarchian is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist offering individual and couples therapy in Glendale and Pasadena. Talin specializes in anxiety, depression, anger management, and also works with children and adolescents. If you find yourself having difficulty with adjusting to change or needing to talk to someone regarding personal challenges you are facing, please call to schedule an appointment directly with Talin at 818-521-0033.