One year ago, if someone told you what the world would look like today, what would your reaction have been? Mine would have been a mix of concern and laughter at the new 2020-is-the-new-2012 disaster conspiracy. And yet… here we are. In this 'new normal'. It's only natural we wonder about our future, as a society: what will the world look like after?
Whilst we here at LETSS can't provide you with all the answers, we can wonder along with you about what world there is to come, and how we might exist within it.
What is the 'new normal'?
Perhaps we should first consider what our 'new normal' is. What have we gotten used to in these last few weird months?
The space between us when we're face-to-face has gotten noticeably bigger; whilst the space for us all to fit inside has gotten noticeably smaller (4m2 each, to be precise). We say hi to friends without hugging them. We hear news every day with the same few words said over and over. Can you think of anything more?
We are in the same storm, but not the same boat.
So… Where do we go from here? What might reintegration after isolation look like for us? Importantly, some of us might have a bigger journey ahead of us than others. We are all in the same storm, but we're not in the same boat.
People who have health, financial, or other concerns might find it harder to reintegrate than others. Though we can't provide all the answers on what all of our individual world's might look like – after all, you are the expert on you and your world – I can suggest what we might be able to expect.
What we can expect:
This might be a bit harder than we remember. Social skills are called skills for a reason. After a long time of not practising, we can get a bit rusty. Expect some awkward silences. Expect some awkward conversation turn-taking. Expect awkward hugs. Don't be too hard on yourself or others for a little while.
- Germs… a new dreaded word for many, I'm sure.
The best way we can plan to protect ourselves against getting sick is to continue good handwashing (I'm sure you're a pro by now!) and universal precautions. If you're uncomfortable getting too close to others in face-to-face contact for a little while- you're likely not the only one. Where you can, say so.
Any loss is a loss that can be grieved. We grieved losing parts of our lives at the beginning of all of this, and just as we grieved the loss of our old normal, we may grieve the loss of our new normal. Some people may feel it a little and some may feel it a lot. It's okay to give yourself some space to feel this loss, however, and if you happen to.
What we can't plan for:
What other people do, what the government does, how many organisations decide to email us their post-COVID-19 policies and procedures, how our friends and family feel, and how fast or slow other people reintegrate.
Remember: we've all had the same storm but we aren't all in the same boat - everyone will be on a different reintegration journey. Go as slow or as fast as you're comfortable and plan for what you can.
It's okay to reach out for support when you need it.
- If you need support with your mental health around COVID-19, there is a COVID-19 Mental Health Peer Support Line by Skylight Mental Health on 1800 02 2020.
- If you need other non-crisis mental health support from us at LETSS, our number is 1800 013 755 (or start a webchat via our website).
- If you're feeling suicidal, or like you're really not coping, try calling Mental Health Triage (13 14 65) or emergency (000).