Written by Meg Metzger

There is no doubt the Covid-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on our planet, causing every aspect of our lives to turn on its head. Panic quickly set in as the world shut down and the powers that be attempted to find answers. Some of us lost our jobs, some of us lost loved ones, and all of us lost some sense of normalcy. In the midst of arguably the most life-changing, terrifying, and impactful moments in our lifetime, we were forced into isolation. It felt like we were starring in a real-life apocalyptic movie–one that none of us even auditioned for.

As time seemingly crept on and new rules were put into place, we did what humans do best- we adapted. Some even thrived within their new normal! We were given the gift of time. Time to reconnect with ourselves, our families, our purpose. Many people experienced boredom for the first time in a long time, leading to new skills being developed and passion projects turning into businesses. We returned to nature, planting gardens and going camping–getting back to the basics.

So yes, as with most things in life, there are pros and cons to the pandemic, but the overarching theme is adaptation. And as the world opens back up, it’s important to tap into that innate skill we all harnessed. As we have been collectively experiencing anxiety, fear, and loneliness for the last year and a half, it can feel scary to go out in public and connect with one another again. So here are some practical tips on how to ease that anxiety as we dive into yet an-other NEW normal.

Validate and Investigate

The very first step in navigating any type of change is to validate the feelings of anxiety that commonly accompany the fear of the unknown. By first recognizing and accepting that fact, you can more easily find solutions to move forward. And remember, the only option is to move forward at this point. As uncomfortable as change can be, the reality is you (nor the world) were not created to stay the same.

Take some time to investigate where this fear is coming from and what it may be trying to tell you. We have evolved to experience fear as a protective mechanism against danger. A certain level of stress and anxiety is normal, yet most modern fears do not warrant the crippling anxiety-ridden attention we often give them. Now that time has passed and many vaccinations have been administered, we can ease back into our public spaces with greater comfort knowing that this isn’t, in fact, the end of the world.

Remember Your Strength

This ain’t your first rodeo! While it may not be apparent yet, you grew stronger through the pandemic. Just like lifting heavy weights builds your physical muscles, going through hard things helps build your mental muscles as well. Odds are you’ve experienced many challenges throughout your life and each of those experiences helped strengthen your resiliency muscle. Now it’s time to flex it. Remember, you are stronger than you think.

Take it Slow

If the pandemic taught us anything, it’s the importance of taking it easy. There is no need to rush back into the world if we aren’t quite feeling ready. Do what feels comfortable for you. Do you want to continue wearing a mask? Go for it! Do you feel safer remaining six feet apart? That’s fine too. Let’s offer each other some compassion as we collectively enter yet another chapter of our lives. While it will certainly take some time to regain a sense of normalcy, we are a resilient species who has stood through the test of time. We will come out of this stronger together.