We all want to leave COVID-19 behind in its malicious tracks and return to normal. But what will normal be like for you?
I’ve talked to people who are making a jailbreak full speed ahead to life prior to March 2020, only to be disappointed because it no longer exists as they knew it. Sadly, so many businesses have gone under, and others have reinvented themselves beyond recognition. Friends have moved away. There are new rules everywhere.
Other people are peeking out from behind curtains or face masks, waiting to see if it’s really safe to reenter society. And the rest of us are wavering in the middle, full of questions.
Those of us who are vaccinated wonder if we can trust that the unvaccinated will wear face masks. Is it safe to gather inside with family and friends who are unvaccinated? What if you’re the only person in a store not wearing a mask?
These are just some of the thoughts and questions people have shared with me as they talk through their excitement, fears and anxieties.
Personally, I’m still evaluating and finding my own path to what my new normal will be. One surprise is I’ve not missed many of the trappings of pre-COVID life. I like my quieter, stay-at-home life, but I am missing family and friends. It was really nice to travel to Tucson recently and spend the weekend with family who have all been vaccinated. We did discuss the knotty issue of what we’re going to do about getting together with family members who have chosen not to be vaccinated.
While all this gets sorted out, in the meantime, there are mindfulness skills you can use to help you find your reentry.
One simple yet powerful technique to address anxiety or uncertainty is “Roger’s Wiggle.” Simply wiggle your toes and your behind while breathing deeply in through your nose and out through your mouth. (When in public, you don’t have to literally wiggle your behind — just the thought of wiggling it will create an internal grin to help ground and center you.)
After completing the wiggle or another mindfulness technique, you can mentally rehearse your social interactions, practicing safety, courtesy, patience with yourself and others and conclude the event calm and relaxed. The goal for the rehearsal is to prepare for success. Be sure to give thanks for your success as part of your visualization.
Another tip is to acknowledge your thoughts and emotions as you explore your new normal without judgment — of yourself or others. If you have a fearful thought, acknowledge it: “Isn’t that interesting. I’m experiencing fear.” Then allow the fear to evaporate. Poof!
What awaits us all is the renewed joy of seeing each other smile, and that’s a glorious normal we all want. Perhaps we’ll never take that simple gift for granted again. I hope not.
Next time, I’ll write about how your life can actually be better post-pandemic. Really!
Roger Moore is a certified counselor and medical hypnotherapist with Palm Desert Hypnosis and can be reached at [email protected] or (760) 219-8079. For more information, visit www.hypnosishealthinfo.com/medical-hypnosis. All sessions are online telehealth.