COVID-19: New Routines, Craving Normal
COVID-19: Let's Look At Survival, And Then Normal
Can We Adapt Once We Go Post-COVID?
So one of the most common things I've heard over the last few weeks - pretty much since the COVID-19 virus has begun to spread throughout North America - is how much people miss things being "normal."
Especially during that first week, which for me was pretty much the week of March 13-20, I struggled greatly with trying to find some sort of rhythm in a world where all of a sudden, I was not allowed to go to the gym, or attend the karate school I'm a student at, or even go to the movies with my kiddos. It was frustrating, to say the least, and all of a sudden, while I was generally a social person, I was talking to pretty much everyone I could online and then some. I'm pretty sure my pals thought I was quite possibly overcaffeinated or something, given I couldn't quite bring myself to stop reaching out.
But find a rhythm, I did. My kids were starting to work on school again, as was I (given I'm a French teacher, this was a very good thing, as I now had direction again), we all started virtual karate and jiu jitsu classes, and we took our dogs for walks regularly. Then again, we have all discovered some sort of new normal in navigating our way through this COVID-19 world, whether that means we all take turns waiting to be allowed admission into Walmart, or we wore masks out in public, or we suddenly started having Wine Wednesdays on Zoom or Google Meet instead of going to a friend's house.
But now, as we start considering the possibilities of a post-COVID existence, questions are being asked as to what that might look like in the long run. Will we continue to hunt for toilet paper like it's the new currency? Will we be required to wear surgical masks every cold and flu season? Will gyms start putting limits on the numbers of people allowed in their facility?
No one quite knows for sure, of course. We are still in the midst of a world where we have to stand six feet (2 metres) from each other, where we are asked to avoid, where possible, to use paper or metal currency, and where we are considering using take out or online grocery shopping instead of going into a grocery store are own selves. We've got our students going online in order to pursue their education because they can't actually attend their physical classrooms due to the virus, and that's leading to realizations of inequity across students as not everyone can access the same supplies to do online learning.
We've been told that we can't expect for life to return to the normal we have known, but what is that "normal" going to look like? It would be disingenuous to expect that everything is going to be the exact same as it was before, because if it was, we would end up in the same situation we are now or worse. The problem is, there are few of us that actually deal well with the unknown and as a result, not knowing what the new "normal" will look like might ultimately causes the same level of anxiety or more than we are currently coping with the ever-changing nature of life with the virus.
It'd be really easy to turn around and say that we will just wait and see what happens because in reality, we don't have any other option but to do exactly that right now. However, when you're asked to stay home and essentially wait out the virus, there's very little to do to occupy time beyond cleaning your house besides think, which means you might very well be inadvertently considering what life is going to look like in the aftermath of all this.
It's hard not to consider these sorts of things, given the pandemic has plunged us into situations we'd never even dreamed we'd have to consider previously. That, in itself, leads to a great deal of uncertainty and yes, even fear as we consider how to keep ourselves and our children safe from potential harm - at least, until a vaccine is developed and widely distributed.
One thing many of us have learned through all of this is just how social we really are. Some of us thought we would be OK, for the most part, in keeping their distance from people, but in reality, we are a social species, and I know it's been difficult for me to even consider a world where we'd have to permanently keep our distance from others. I don't mean go into full-blown hermit mode where we are completely self-isolating, but to maintain that two metre distance from our fellow humans might be a big challenge for us in the immediate aftermath of this crisis.
There are more questions than answers right now, and while theories abound about what our world will look like post-COVID-19, unfortunately, the waiting game still needs to be played. Hang in there.