Now that the election is (technically) over, I think it’s time for a mental reset, don’t you?
2020 has been the tornado that landed us all in Oz. I don’t think there’s been a more chaotic year in modern history, which included a global pandemic, riots, and one of the most important elections in the world- all within an 8 month time-frame. It’s no wonder we’re a bit frazzled.
So many have suffered on so many different levels- physically, mentally, emotionally, financially, and personally. Our businesses and jobs have suffered. Our relationships have suffered. Our kids have suffered. Heck, even our pets have suffered.
I think we’ve all had the “after the election” mentality. Things will go back to ‘normal’ after the election. Or we’ll see what happens after the election.
And, now that 2020 is coming to a close (thank God!), what do we do with ourselves? How do we pick up the pieces from the rubble in which we now sit that once resembled our lives.
I am going to offer some advice from Mental Health America. I think what we’ve suffered through this year is nothing short of a form of PTSD- not that I would ever diminish the seriousness of what a combat veteran goes through, by all means. It can’t even compare, but on a slightly lesser scale, here are some things that can help us get back to “normal” when things return to “normal” (praying to God they do!):
- The reunion is a major event. …Maybe even bigger than the separation. With so many still on lock down and quarantined for health reasons, physically reuniting with friends and family can cause more stress in people’s lives than seclusion. That’s not to say that people aren’t happy to actually hug their friends and family members and spend time with them in person. They’re usually ecstatic. The stress comes from the changes that have taken place and concern for what life will now be like that it’s all over.
- Spend time with friends and family. For months, those closest to us have been living in fear and isolation. The only way we’ve connected with those we love is via Zoom, phone calls or social media. Make a special effort to spend time with them in person if you can.
- View stress as normal. Returning to your everyday life is a major change, and change always creates stress. If accepted and handled constructively, stress can be turned into a source of excitement and enthusiasm about new beginnings, be it in business, relationships, health and fitness, or spiritually.
- Go slowly. Take time to ease back into your routine. Make a list of those things that must be done. Trying to do too much too soon will only add to your stress level. Consider putting off major decisions until you’ve had plenty of time to readjust to life without a mask or quarantine.
- Communicate with others. Talking with others about your experiences and what you’ve been feeling can help relieve stress. It’s not a sign of weakness. Talk with a trusted relative, friend, faith leader, therapist, or life coach. We all need a compassionate ear and perspective to help guide us out of the turbulence.
- Practice self-care. So many have turned to exercise during this time, which is awesome. However, if you’ve had to remain in quarantine, getting the right amount of exercise has likely been challenging. Practice self-care by getting out in nature, meditating, journaling, turning off the electronics; staying away from the news and social media for a few days. Take a long, hot bath. Read a book. Be kind to yourself.
- Start the rebuilding process together. Do it as a family - even if you’ve had your political differences and unfriended someone really close to you on Facebook. Make the decision that this time will serve to make you and your family even stronger. Get involved in positive activities that encourage togetherness, compassion, and understanding.
- Expect something of a letdown. Now that you’re no longer running on pure adrenaline from the fear and uncertainty, things will begin to settle down. Now what? It’s kind of like you’ve spent all of this time planning a huge wedding, and now that it’s over, there’s a huge letdown. You might feel a bit gloomy. The heightened stress response in your brain starts to subside, so you feel a bit of a void. Enjoy it, my friend. You’ve been through a lot. It’s time to accept that part of the process and actually enjoy the calm.
I truly hope that the clouds will clear, and we can all come out in the sunlight and resume our lives from before the pandemic. Sure, there will be some things that will never go back to the way they were. Those are part of the “new normal”, but life does go on. We will go on. I just hope we call can do so with love, kindness and compassion towards ourselves and others.