After making the adjustment to keeping our distance and staying safe in our bubbles about a year ago, we now have to wrap our heads around resuming some sort of normalcy and getting back to social interactions face to face. There are multiple factors that come into play when making decisions about how to proceed but uppermost in my mind are three primary concerns. One, who has had the vaccine and not had it, and does it actually work? Two, how do I want to manage my mind and my reentry, so I feel empowered? Three, this is a great opportunity to redesign my life, so what kind of deliberate changes do I want to make to improve my social life? Now, if you never really even experienced the restrictions of the pandemic or practiced social distancing this past year, this post is not for you. This post is for those of you who have been pretty vigilante and want to get back to some sense of normalcy but still a little apprehensive about how to do that.
I am a science gal so when I envision a return to normalcy that has to include some sort of vaccination or medication that is going to make the virus less deadly. I have been eligible for the vaccine for some time now because my husband is an essential worker, yet I have only looked once or twice for appointments to try to sign up for it. Since most of the people I know are anxious to be eligible for it, I am questioning myself as to why I am so casual about getting signed up. I think it might be because I am unsure of the efficacy of the vaccine, how I will react to the vaccine, and how much it will matter if many other people do not get it. In terms of the efficacy, I don’t think we will know for sure for some time. As far as worrying about a negative reaction, I decided I am not going to look to the past for evidence of why I should not do something. Sure, I had a horrible reaction to a steroid shot for my back pain last year, but that does not mean that will happen with the vaccine. Lastly, I decided I cannot control who else gets the shot or how that impacts me. I only have control of myself and have to do what is best for me and my fellow humans. For me, that means saying yes to the vaccine. I can tell myself all kinds of stories (that’s what thoughts are!) about the vaccine and since I want to feel safe and good, I am going to decide on purpose to make those good stories. Sometimes I forget that thoughts are optional and just because my brain offers me a much more powerless and scarier scenario, I do not have to listen to it!
Now that I have decided to pursue the vaccine, my next step is to start to think about reentry into the world of socializing in person. I am kind of surprised by the feelings that are coming up as I negotiate how I am going to resume my social life. Who would have ever thought this would be a problem in our lifetimes? That we could become uncomfortable being around other people when we never were before? I have gotten so used to meeting with people on Zoom and having an online business, that I was not giving it a whole lot of thought until recently. What is the best way for me to regain "normalcy" that ensures the least amount of discomfort and a sense of empowerment.
For me, empowerment means saying no to fear. I don't like the way I feel when I am consumed by fear so it is no longer an option. I want to be cautious and make good decisions but not worry or dwell in confusion. I am gong to purposely decide that the vaccines are effective, everything will be fine, and I trust my fellow humans. I trust that we all have different emotions and approaches to regain normalcy . I trust there will be awkward moments when somebody leans in for a hug, and I pull back. I trust it will all work out exactly as planned and be perfect no matter what happens.
Now that we have discussed the vaccine and my mindset, that brings me to the third consideration when it comes to returning to normalcy, which is how do I want to deliberately redesign my social life so that I love it in a way that I did not before? I absolutely love this concept and how fresh and empowered it makes me feel when I even think of this possibility. So, after lots of consideration, the first thing I am going to do is change the way I think about my social life. Sometimes I can be guilty of “compare and despair” and think that everybody else is having more fun than me. I am also guilty of wanting to have more fun but not being inspired to actually put any effort into doing anything about it. Oh, I am willing to put in a 12–14-hour workday for my business, but then cannot be bothered to take the time to make a dinner reservation to a new restaurant or make plans to do something new and different. When I do make plans or buy tickets to shows, we are often times in the back row because I do not pay as much attention to detail as I do in other areas of my life. Ugh. I really don’t like this about myself and ready to make some changes
Not only am I am committing to put more energy into making an effort to have quality fun, I am also going to reconsider what I actually think is fun and how often I need it. My husband and I love being at home and have created indoor and outdoor spaces that we really enjoy. I also have two adorable pups that make being a home body inviting. But I am going to challenge myself to get creative with how I spend my time and also enjoy and savor the fun nights that we stay at home. I am also going to acknowledge right now that my business is a blast! I am not sure I can have more fun than I do with that so instead of viewing it as work, I am going to think of it as fun as well. That makes me happy just thinking that!
Now that I have thought about some of the ways I can make my social life better, the last item to discuss is about who I have been spending my time with pre-covid and do I want to keep doing that post-covid? This is an easy one for me because I do not spend time with people I do not want to be around. If you caught be about a decade ago, the story would be quite different. I have done the work and I am happy to report I only surround myself by people I love and who love me these days. I have my own back, so, I do not waste my time on people who do not have it too. I deliberately choose to spend my time with people who are kind, loving, funny and interesting. I love talking to my life coach friends about all things brain BS and my sports fan friends about the Ohio State Buckeyes. I love talking to my old co-workers about OT and the chamber members about my new business. I love spending time alone with myself and I love spending time with my family.
Now that you have an idea of what is going on in my brain, what is going on in yours? How do you plan to regain normalcy in a post-Covid world? Maybe it would benefit you to think about some of the things I have mentioned in this blog post that you might not have considered before. Are you getting the vaccine? Did you decide not to get the vaccine? Do you like your reasons? How about the way you are thinking? Helpful? Not helpful? If you can choose your thoughts on purpose, which ones are going to work for you? Then when you figure that out, how are you doing to resume your social life? Are you going to take advantage of this opportunity to get a fresh start and make some changes or do the same old, same old? How are you going to have fun moving forward? What sort of things do you maybe want to do that you have not thought about before? Are you going to keep surrounding yourself by the same people or could it maybe be time to find a new crowd? So many questions and so many thoughts to ponder when deciding how to regain normalcy in a post-Covid world. Join me in the Brain BS Podcast Episode #13 to discuss this further.