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Tips to Help You Return to Normal

Returning to Normal Doesn't Feel Normal


We all remember how quickly a highly contagious and deadly virus changed our lives. The COVID-19 pandemic necessitated restrictions that brought about a plethora of feelings from unease and uncertainty to anxiety and depression. For over a year we longed for the days of “returning to normal”. Now that half of DC residents are estimated to be partially or fully vaccinated, a return to our old lives is increasingly within reach. However, with the easing of Covid restrictions many of us are finding that “normal” feels anything but normal.


For 14 months, we’ve been waiting for the opportunity to gather in-person, hug family and friends, go to the movies, and dine indoors at a restaurant. Yet now that we can do these activities, it feels foreign, even scary for some. How surprised we are to return to the familiarity of our pre-Covid lives with a sense of unease!


If you are like many of us who are still trying to navigate a world without masks and social distancing, you are not alone. Here are some tips to help you return to the new normal:

  • Take it slow. Visit with one or two people you feel most comfortable with before venturing out to meet with a group.

  • Talk about it. Talk to family and friends about how they are managing life now that Covid restrictions are easing. Share your plans and feelings.

  • Set boundaries. If you aren’t ready to be without a mask, then wear it! Not comfortable shaking hands or hugging? Don’t do it! Discuss your comfort level before getting together with family and friends.

  • Make a plan. Many of us have gotten used to the days where brushing your hair was optional. This has made it surprisingly challenging to pull yourself together to get out to meet with others. Planning out your outfit and morning routine the night before will help polish those rusty skills.

  • Be patient with yourself and with others. The pandemic is a collective experience, but that doesn’t mean there is a one size fits all response. It’s going to take time before we feel comfortable returning to life pre-Covid. We will all have different levels of comfort in engaging activities and that is OK.

  • Seek help. If you find that the fear of leaving your house or meeting with family and friends is impacting your life in negative ways, talk to a mental health professional. While unease and uncertainty are typical responses to change, emotional responses that are pervasive or debilitating require professional help. To find a mental health professional contact your physician.

We’re in this together! While we’ve begun offering some in-person activities, Cleveland & Woodley Park Village will continue to offer virtual programs and phone buddy calls to make sure our Village community stays connected in ways that are most comfortable to each and every one of you.

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