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Life during and after a Pandemic

Prior to March 2020, for most of us, we were able to go out into the world. We were socializing, trying new restaurants, engaging in hobbies and passions, shopping and a plethora of other things with little worry. The cough from other customers didn’t bother us, there was not much anxiety about touching doors or sharing space with strangers. Overall, we lived life according to societal norms and the standard of living previously created for us. 

The “normal” that once brought a sense of comfort and consistency drifted away night by night. A pandemic came our way leading to jobs lost, lives  shattered, schools closed and a space where  struggles were prominent. The lockdown challenged many of us and pushed us to places that we were not used to being. The mental health of many of us took a toll for a multitude of reasons. 

Before I continue, I want to take a moment to recognize the loss that this Pandemic has brought. I send my condolences to anyone who is reading this that has lost loved ones, co-workers, friends and family due to the pandemic.

You may be thinking, how can we move forward and celebrate? Especially when out normal way of living is no longer the world we live in. The fights we are fighting are long from over. From the rise in food and gas to food shortages. You may be fighting with mental health challenges, but you adapted and you survived. Regardless of what changed throughout the past few years, you are here reading this blog. So what’s next? How can we continue to adjust and adapt to the new way of life and living?

Change is the Only Constant

The last two years have been filled with change. Some of us couldn’t attend family gatherings or see loved ones. We couldn’t have face to face meetings. We were not able to see our kids socialize and build key developmental skills. With all of that said, guess what we did- we adapted. 

You have changed so much over the last two years, you are probably like… What does she want me to change now!? I want you to change your way of thinking. The way you view the world, loved ones, your job, your family and most importantly, yourself. Like many of us, we spent so much time helping and caring for others the last two years that we inadvertently put ourselves on the backburner. What I’m proposing in this blog is to focus on what is really important in our lives, to provide us a sense of peace and normalcy for even a short period of time.

What’s really important in life?

How do we as humans place priority and importance on things in our life? You may be reading this while sitting in your favorite spot on the couch, with a glass of “juice” and your fur baby cuddled up next to you. For some, you may be on your lunch, taking a break from the hustle and bustle of work and trying to be present and mindful. Whatever you are doing while reading this, you have placed importance on it, so lets place importance on other things in your life. 

Are you spending enough time with yourself? Are you spending time with loved ones and family members, safely of course? Are you playing outside with your kids more? Are you going to the dog park more? Are you doing more DIY projects and redecorating your space? Did you say yes to any of these? But wait, I’m not done!

What about meals, are you eating properly? Are you drinking your water? What about hygiene? Have you found yourself struggling to do things you once loved to do? Have you found yourself struggling to really get back into hobbies and passions that you love, in fear of things shutting down again? Are you still with me? Good, now let’s talk about what we can do to help you get back to a sense of normalcy.

Reinvest, Revamp, Relax

Reinvest in relationships and yourself. It’s truly time to recognize that self-care isn’t selfish and it’s impossible to pour from a cup that is either empty or non-existent. Reinvesting in yourself looks different for everyone. For some it may be shopping and finding a style that fights you. It could be giving yourself grace and space to not be perfect. Forgive those who hurt you, because forgiveness is about self not the other person. Love on those who love you for who you are, and how you come. Love those who love you in the space that you were in, are in and will one day be in. Reinvest in things that make you feel good, things that bring happiness and joy to your life.

Revamp your self-care plan. Ask yourself, ‘What do I do for myself” Now stop, think about it. Did you like your answer? If you did great, keep that up. But if you didn’t, then keep reading. Self-Care is more than bubble baths and a bomb hygiene routine, (although a good bubble bath can do the trick). Self-care is truly about caring for yourself, and sometimes putting your needs before the needs of others and this world. It is okay to stop and say “No” -”No” is a complete sentence and should be used in your vocab often. Self- Care is all about taking time out to recharge and refill, because when you try to pour from an empty cup, you and everyone else still remains thirsty and needs continue to go unmet.

Relax your mind, and the rest will follow. Take the steps to free yourself from worry, anxiety, fear, doubt, anger and anything else that is keeping you from revamping and reinvesting. It can be hard to relax, but when you find yourself overstimulated or anxious try practicing the two grounding techniques below. 

Take a moment (in the space that you are in) to identify 5 things you can see, 4 things you can touch, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell and 1 thing you can taste. If you find yourself becoming distracted, try to bring your attention back to the task at hand. Think about what you are experiencing within your senses. 

Think about a space and time where you were calm and happy, take yourself back. Think about the smells, the environment and the people. Bring yourself to a space mentally to experience the positive emotions of this time and how you felt in the space. Take some deep breaths and relax. 

These are just a couple examples of some amazing grounding techniques to explore. Most importantly, remember that you are important, you are needed, and you are supposed to be here. We have to take care of ourselves to recognize and experience this. 

What’s Next?

As I’m writing this, I found myself doing some ground techniques. My favorite technique is when I imagine myself in a space and time where true happiness and peace prevailed. A space where my true and authentic self had the ability to grow and flourish. Which ideally is what I want for you. I hope you’ve learned something about yourself, your self-care plan, and your priorities. Next, put it all into action, I always tell friends “to be like a verb, and just do it” Take time for you, leave work on time (which can be hard if you work from home) relax with your loved ones and family. Cook a new meal, try a new restaurant, read that book on your shelf, listen to your podcast, but most importantly put yourself first. 

Recognize that life has shifted and we have to continue to adapt and keep living. You have to continue to love those around you, and prioritize what is important in your life. Continue to challenge and shift beliefs and truly get the most out of this thing called life. 

Life has shifted

Recognize that life has shifted and we have to continue to adapt and keep living. You have to continue to love those around you, and prioritize what is important in your life. Continue to challenge and shift beliefs and truly get the most out of this thing called life.

How can Emma Schmidt and Associates help?

If you would like more support in adapting to life after the pandemic, we can help. The Clinicians at Emma Schmidt and Associates are skilled relationship and sex therapists that are also trained in the treatment of general mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, trauma, etc. This provides a unique opportunity to provide a holistic approach to wellness. Emma Schmidt and Associates have offices in Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana offering both in-person and virtual appointments at all locations. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you. 

1. Contact Emma Schmidt and Associates to request a free Counseling consultation.

2. Meet with a skilled therapist for Counseling through our HIPAA compliant platform.

3. Begin online Counseling and begin your journey towards mental wellness, health, and happiness.

Other Services Offered at Emma Schmidt and Associates:

More to check out…

The therapists at Emma Schmidt and Associates are skilled relationship and sex therapists. However, that’s not the only mental health service they offer. Our therapists treat general mental health and relationship concerns. We offer anxiety treatment, depression treatment, trauma and PTSD treatment, EMDR, and relationship and couples therapy. In addition to offering online therapy in Ohio, we also offer online therapy in Kentucky, and online therapy in Indiana. Contact our office to learn more about the many ways our team of skilled clinicians can help you thrive.

Follow D'ominique Elie:

Licensed Professional Counselor