In early March of 2020, each of us suddenly found ourselves in a unique situation. A global pandemic gripped nearly every nation, and fear and anxiety spread like wildfire. Lockdowns and quarantines ensued, disrupting the normalcy we had come to accept. Naturally, this impacted our lives and caused us a significant amount of stress. But as COVID vaccination programs expand, there’s hope that things may soon return back to some resemblance of normal. But are we ready to return to our prior lives in a post-pandemic world? And if so, how should we go about it?
Embracing change is always hard, whether it’s forced upon us by a global pandemic or whether we choose something new. For some, the challenges can feel overwhelming, making the effort seem simply not worth it. As we begin to enter into a post-pandemic world, many of us will encounter such feelings. It’s therefore best to anticipate these emotions and consider how we might address them. If we wish to live our boldest life possible, we will need to navigate this transition well. Fortunately, embracing change isn’t as hard as it may seem. All it takes is the right attitude and frame of mind as well as a bit of courage.
Same as It Never Was
As an increasing number receive coronavirus vaccination, many are talking about a return to normal in their post-vaccination lives. (Read more about giving back after you’ve gotten your vaccines in this Project Bold Life story!) But there’s no denying a post-pandemic world will never quite return to the one it was before the pandemic. Being quarantined from others created individual silos where we avoided in-person contact. Naturally, this was important to prevent the spread of the virus. But at the same time, it also fueled any social anxieties we might have. As we consider embracing change again toward this new normal, we have to recognize our social skills may be rusty. And both together will be enough to cause stress for many.
Recent surveys suggest that nearly half of people feel significant anxiety about returning to their prior routines. To a large extent, this is because they have changed. They have adopted new routines, schedules and habits during the year that might be disrupted. But at the same time, the world has changed too. There are new social norms involving social distancing and hygiene. New technologies and services have evolved, creating different ways of life. The post-pandemic world will be quite different than before, and so will we. Thus, perhaps calling it a return to normal isn’t really that accurate after all.
Strategies for Bold Living in a Post-Pandemic World
In navigating your life’s course in a post-pandemic world, there are several strategies that may offer some advantages. These can help reduce any fears and anxieties and allow you to pursue activities that enable you to be your best. The following may therefore be some things you consider in your approach to a bolder life.
- Define Your Fears – By definition, anxiety represents fear of what’s to come. Often, we anticipate the worst so we better prepare. But sometimes, we over-exaggerate future possibilities, which make it more difficult when embracing change. Therefore, one important strategy to help us adapt to a post-pandemic world is to define these fears. Once we identify them and label them, they often become easier with which to deal.
- Reprioritize Your Life – As noted, a post-pandemic world is going to be different, and so are you. Thus, it’s important to step back and think about the type of bold life you want. This requires reflecting on what you truly desire out of your life and making plans to achieve it. Many of us will have new and different perspectives as we emerge out of a world in lockdown.
- Set New Goals – New priorities of course mean new goals. In your pursuit of a bold life, identifying stretch goals that help us fulfill our true potential is important. Not only can such goals help us when embracing change, but they provide a target upon which to focus our energies. Establishing new bold life goals in a post-pandemic world will be something many of us will need to do.
- Invest in Positivity – Over the course of the last year, it may have become all too easy to dwell on the negative. Unfortunately, negative energies create obstacles in our pursuits for a bolder life. Rather than embracing change, such thoughts and feelings can cause us to fear or dread anything outside our routine. But by investing in positive thinking and emotions, we energize ourselves to overcome these concerns.
- Seek Inspiration and Support – Finally, embracing change is often easier when we have good support systems and a source of inspiration. Friends and family are often great resources to help us better manage our anxieties and worries. Likewise, looking to others who have adapted to change and a post-pandemic world well can be a source of strength. These are additional strategies that can help us in pursuing a bolder life.
Embracing Change Is Bold
As human beings, we generally don’t like change. It goes against our evolutionary heritage. Change is potentially disruptive, and it’s often associated with less stability and security. Therefore, we naturally try to avoid it when we can. But change also provides opportunities for growth through new and different experiences. If we shy away from all change, we miss out on some of life’s greatest adventures. Because of this, embracing change in a post-pandemic world is necessary if we wish to be our best.
Of course, not all change is necessary good change. As we emerge from a year in semi-isolation, there will be some routines we may want to continue. Many of us rediscovered our love for reading, spending time outdoors, and spending time with family. Others simply appreciated having time to self-reflect and meditate. As you plan to restructure your life in a post-pandemic world, these may be activities you continue to include. Embracing change is always important when pursuing a bold life. But being able to identify what works best for you is just as essential.
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