What a rough 14 months this has been. Unforeseen changes to what we often called, ‘a normal day.' Fast forward to today, where we shudder at the idea of leaving our homes without our masks or our essential hand sanitizer. I have heard the term “six degrees of separation” referenced throughout the past 14 months, and the degrees appear to shift to less than half the standard. I don’t know a single person who has not been affected by the Pandemic. Do you? If not personally, financially, educationally, spiritually, and/or professionally, etc., “This Pandemic has crossed more barriers and is noted as being on its way to outpacing cancer.” (Jacobson, 2021). How do we get back to ‘a normal day?’ It may be safe to conclude that our ‘normal’ will forever shift into what we interpret it to be. I have seen such resilience in so much uncertainty. I have seen setbacks turned into triumphs. I have seen families find creative solutions to reduce boredom and children finding an interest in newly discovered hobbies. Additionally, I have seen the increase in depression, anxiety, abuse, trauma, and substance use; just to name a few. I want everyone reading this to know, your feelings are NORMAL! Life has changed for all of us and you have more in common with most of the world than you think. Collectively, we’ve all lived through something that we’ll probably never experience again in our lifetime. Here is the part I want you to remember; you lived THROUGH it. Now, the question is, what do we do now? Let me offer these 5 steps:
- Take a moment to express gratitude for making it this far. Keep a gratitude journal and write down the things you are grateful for daily.
- Increase your social support. There are thousands of online groups that have been created to address your specific needs.
- Get moving. Whether it is 10 minutes a day or 60 minutes a day. Commit to getting the heart rate pumping and speak to your doctor if you need any additional support or referrals.
- Find one thing you can do for someone else and schedule a daily, weekly, bi-weekly or monthly commitment to help them.
- Reach out to a professional for therapy to process where you are and where you would like to be.
Natasha K. Thomas, L.M.F.T.