By Christi M. Lero, MSW, LCSW, CSW-G
These are strange times…
We can keep saying it and it will keep being true. We are in some weird times, folks. COVID-19 and its impact has certainly rocked our worlds – rocked theworld! We have made it this far into “the curve” and many news platforms and outlets are talking about plans to phase back into society. Stay-at-home orders are lifting, businesses are given more leeway to provide their services, albeit the restrictions for six feet or more of distance are still in place. With restrictions lifting, that means we will see creative ways in which businesses and public spaces take precautions for public well-being.
I work a lot with folks going through transitions in life. Changes like parenthood, chronic and terminal illness, even end of life. One of the most common things that is helpful when we are going to significant transitions is information. Throughout this experience with COVID-19 we have heard over and over that things about the virus itself, the economy, and the expectations of the future remain uncertain. This is true, there is a lot of uncertainty… andthere are things that we know will be different. Understanding what to expect, even if the expectations seem simple, can ease anxiety about uncertainty.
So, what can we expect as communities begin to open up and we poke our heads out of our homes? Here are a few ideas:
Things will look different post Covid
As we venture out into our communities, we might notice that things look different. People around us might be wearing masks or gloves. There will be more physical distance between tables and chairs, desks in your workspace. If you are used to going to work and seeing someone else relatively close to you, that will probably be different.
Things will sound different post Covid
We have already developed somewhat of a new language. Words that we used to never know have now become a part of everyday use. Before this year, we never would have needed to know about social distancing, coronavirus, N-95 masks, ventilators, and much more. Yet here we are, using these new terms every day.
Our interactions & relationships will be different post Covid
As much as we might want to, we will still not be able to run up and give a friend a hug, or high-five a coworker on a job well done. In fact, we might even be wary of touching people, door handles, using the pen tethered to the counter at the bank. Interacting with others will feel weird because we are used to having conversations closer than six feet from someone. Or maybe, now, since we have been using video conferencing and other ways to keep in touch, it will be weird to be in someone else’s presence again.
Blank spaces post Covid
The impact of the coronavirus and subsequent stay-at-home orders is certainly something we have never seen before. Unfortunately, some businesses have already shut down. Even larger corporations have closed store locations. That means storefronts will be closed, signs will be blank or read “for sale/rent/lease.” It also means the spaces where some places would serve complementary items like drinks, snacks, or even toothpicks may be empty.
What to expect when you notice something different
The list above is certainly not exhaustive. There are many more things that you will notice are different as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a transition we are not through yet, and things will continue to change throughout our journey together. When you notice something different or something missing, it is normal for your thoughts to go several places. You might feel angry or frustrated about limitations placed on what you can and cannot do in public. You might be anxious about what things you have touched or how close in proximity you are to someone else. You might make judgments about your own or others’ behavior. These things are normal in a time of uncertainty and change. What you can do about these thoughts and feelings is allow them to be present in your mind, recognize and name them (“wow, I’m thinking about what I have touched today and I never did that before,”) and give yourself some space to feel the feels. Know it is normal and uncomfortable, and it will pass.
We are all in this together. This is the first time anyone has been through a global pandemic and no one knows how to handle this perfectly. We are doing the best we can, with the information we have, in the situation we are in. Cut yourself some slack, show compassion, and be willing to be a little more flexible than usual with the constant change.
Get Support in Mid Missouri Through Counseling
If flexibility, change or transitions are tough for you and you are struggling, you do not have to struggle alone. . Counseling can help. At Aspire Counseling, we have caring therapists who provide effective counseling services so you can be the best version of yourself. Each of our therapists specialize in something different so we can help with a wide range of issues including grief, teens, trauma/PTSD (children, teens & adults), depression, anxiety & more in an LGBTQ affirming counseling setting. We are able to see people in person at our Columbia, MO counseling clinic or offer online counseling sessions to anyone in the state of Missouri.
Here’s how to start therapy at Aspire: 1. Contact us to get matched with a therapist 2. Meet with your therapist for a free consultation to make sure you’re a great fit 3. Begin your path toward healing.