5 tips for a stress-free return to normal
Are you worried about returning to normal after COVID-19? Here are some tips to help you ease back into normal life.
All kinds of situations can cause anxiety, and COVID-19, which has been very stressful, is no exception. Normally, anxiety that is triggered by a specific event fades immediately after the event has past, in this case COVID-19.
The problem is no one knows for sure if and when the virus will be eradicated. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t start returning to normal.
1. Maintain healthy lifestyle habits
Throughout the global pandemic, experts emphasized the fact that healthy lifestyle habits were essential for everything to be OK.
Maintaining these habits after returning to normal will be just as beneficial.
Here are some excellent habits:
- Eat right for maximum energy.
- Exercise regularly—a sound mind in a sound body!
- Get enough sleep to reap the benefits of restorative sleep.
- Do something that lets you tune everything out.
You had the best of intentions at the start of the pandemic, but have since lost your motivation? You’re not alone. Acknowledging the situation is good but doing something about it is even better.
- Be smart about what you put in your shopping cart.
- Make your workouts more enjoyable by varying your exercises and routines, or try something new.
- Get the most out of restorative sleep by:
- Going to bed at regular hours and avoiding screens 30 minutes before bedtime.
- Keeping your bedroom temperature cool (you will fall asleep faster).
- Steering clear of heavy, late-evening meals (snack lightly instead).
- Have you found a new hobby that makes you feel good? Stick with it!
2. Define your normal
Did the lockdown have an upside for you? Do you enjoy working from home and flexible work hours? Exercising at home? Cooking for yourself (or your loved ones)? Trying new things (oil painting, woodworking, etc.)? And everything else it made possible?
If these activities were good for you during the pandemic, then don’t stop doing them simply because life is returning to normal.
Maybe your definition of normal is a happy blend of pre- and post-COVID habits.
Adapt your routine to your needs and personal preferences for a seamless transition.
3. Take baby steps
Have you lost the habit of hanging out with your friends? Do you think Zoom Happy Hour is where it’s at?
Know that you’re not alone. Many find social events uncomfortable and simply turn down all invitations.
If this sounds like you, then try a progressive return to normal social life!
- Stop turning down all invitations. You’ll have to accept one at some point!
- Organize a friendly get-together with people you feel comfortable with. Choose wisely to make sure you have a great time.
- If you aren’t ready to have people over:
- Organize a get-together in a public place, like a park. That way, you can leave whenever you want.
- Organize a sporting activity like a bike ride, a hike or a kayaking expedition. You can enjoy hanging out with friends while doing something fun.
- Go to the restaurant, but a five-service gourmet meal may be overdoing it.
- Talk to a loved one about your return-to-normal anxiety. It’ll make you feel better.
Learn to be more resilient and don’t let your fears and stress get the better of you.
4. Ask your employer about the return-to-work policy
If returning to work is stressing you out, then refer to the the public health and safety measures to know what to expect as well as the protocol your employer intends to put in place.
- Will wearing a mask/face covering be mandatory? All the time or just when walking around the office?
- Will employees have to provide proof of vaccination?
- Will dividers be installed between workstations?
- Will there be temperature screenings?
- Will testing be imposed?
- Will working from home be possible?
- Will employees have flexible work hours?
- Will support/help provided to those who are nervous about returning to the office?
Don’t forget to talk to your supervisor about your work schedule—WFH and WFO.
5. Ask for help
Pay attention to your family—parents and children—who may have been upset by the pandemic and lockdown. Return to normal can be scary for anyone.
Talk openly to find out what each of you wants. Together, you can come up with something that suits your whole family.
If you feel like your anxiety is preventing you from returning to normal, get professional help.
Don’t put it off! The sooner you feel better, the quicker you get back to normal.