Now that lockdowns have loosened and people across the country are resuming life pre-COVID, some are suffering from anxiety. A different fear experienced during the beginning phase of COVID focused on health and finances. Now people are undergoing fear of missing out, also known as, FOMO. Their fear is that the accomplishments and routines they discovered that worked for them in quarantine will revert back to their old lives once they begin socializing without safer at home orders in place. The post COVID anxiety people are suffering from now is normal.
I spoke to one reader who just graduated from college. She said the pandemic brought mixed emotions about not being able to walk on her special day and celebrate with friends. However, her biggest concern wasn’t starting a job, or having to stay home in lockdown hustling as a micro-influencer. It was life after COVID and the pressure she felt to attend all the upcoming social gatherings with her friends in South Carolina. For the first time in her life COVID forced her to create a schedule that she stuck with. Because of this schedule her new normal made more sense. Now she feared that she would not be as productive with the temptations and distractions of leaving her house. “When we were all in this together I knew I wasn’t missing anything because we were all at home. Now I feel like I have to be apart of things again.”
I thought about what she said and how she was feeling. What’s different now? What’s normal now? Will life as we know it go back to what it was before Coronavirus swept across the nation? In LA a lot hasn’t changed. People were quick to break out of their “prison cell” when Governor Newson and Mayor Garcetti announced phase two.
During my time in self-isolation I experienced many phases: fear, productivity, creativity, relaxation and towards the end a strong need to hustle. I got into a rhythm working alone, and like her, didn’t want to go back to normal life. The thing is, before COVID I made time for everything. Sometimes things that overextended me and brought on high levels of stress. Not because I couldn’t say no, but I thought I should constantly be living my life. When I was forced to slowdown I saw life differently. I realized my primary focus now is on building this health and wellness company (Gamma). It’s on the quality talks I have with my family and friends, and intimate dates with someone I recently started seeing. It’s making more time for the things that serve me and omitting the things that don’t. In short, it’s simplifying my life for peace.
If we stop putting expectations on how life is supposed to be, and live the way we want, life becomes a lot more clear and much easier to live. I believe there will be a time in the not so distant future when we look back at quarantine, how we adjusted our lives, and wish for some of those intricacies back. Our worst days brought us closer together, built communities of love, routines and stillness. There was something we all gained from this time and that’s what I want to build my new normal around. What made life make more sense for me. Families with children had to find a balance. Students learned time management the hardest way. Entrepreneurs and corporations discovered alternative ways to sustain business. The one universal thing that came from COVID is we all grew.
It’s difficult not to fear what’s next when a lot of us are still without work, shelter is a concern, food is scarce and our mental and emotional well beings are put to the test. But for those people there are options: PPP, PUA, UI, Government assistance, SAG-AFTRA loans, etc. Credit card companies are deferring payments, utility companies are offer low-income and hardship breaks, and some home owners are protected too. I’ve watched several people on my local news channel, and other media outlets, discussing way’s to find assistance during this scary time. There is help for everyone, but my understanding is that it requires a hustle to get it.
As we slowly move outside of the confined walls we have been living and go back to our day-to-days, try to work on maintaining the pace you had in quarantine to alleviate your anxiety. Slowdown and listen to what you need before you create a different storm. The last thing anyone needs is to come out of one traumatic time and into another. Don’t force yourself to be further along, or stress over what’s out of your control. Accept things as they are, do your best to make small changes and adapt. In time you will find your NOW normal and what life looks like for you post COVID.
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