Wondering how to gain momentum after several amazing months of isolation? The COVID-19 pandemic sent us all to the shelter of our homes.
It felt strange at times, but I soon adapted and began to like the new gentle pace. Now I’m starting to think ‘coming out’ might be a slower process than I first thought.
‘Stay home. Stay safe. Be careful about personal hygiene,’ became our mantra. We said it to ourselves and to each other. We became used to new jargon and new slang.
The novel idea of ‘social-distancing’ became a common concept. No hugs, no kisses for friends, family grandchildren. We felt the pain of separation.
But within weeks, we flattened the curve of new infections in Western Australia, and brought the virus to its knees, at least for now.
Many people worked even harder than normal to keep everyone else safe and to keep the wheels turning with the essential services we depend on. Some worked from home and, at the same time, took responsibility for home-schooling and child-care.
For some, lock-down (self-isolation) felt even more onerous, especially while they contemplated a possible future with no paid employment. Others found themselves in the horrendous situation where they were subjected to additional family and domestic violence.
Time in isolation
Many used the time to renovate and restore their houses or to clear and clean. To decorate and garden. To enjoy being together.
People like me, older perhaps and with fewer responsibilities and adequate income, withdrew into our homes where we felt safe and content. Expectations fell away.
We kept our distance and limited visitors to the one or two who ran our messages and kept food in our fridge. We felt gratitude and cared about our own health and that of others, especially those with whom we live.
The normal household chores did not change. We cooked and cleaned and did the laundry. Our baking routine didn’t change. That’s what we do. We discovered online grocery ordering. Accepted deliveries to our front doors and wondered if we would ever want to shop for food again.
Maybe for the first time in our lives we could simply ‘be’. We exercised old-fashioned virtues extolled by my grandmother.
‘Try patience, perseverance and a sense of humour,’ she would often say when life seemed tough.
On the other side of hibernation
In Australia, as fewer new cases of COVID-19 occur each day, restrictions begin to ease. We indeed seem to be ‘the lucky country’. As we move cautiously towards new normal lives, most of us can be proud that we did the right thing and kept the rules.
I suspect, however, that I’m not the only one who’s come to this point and find ourselves flat, tired and unmotivated. Even cranky and weepy, while other people embrace activities and projects.
It’s almost impossible to remember or reactivate my dreams for the wonderful things I would do, ‘after’.
How I plan to gain momentum
I worked as a relationship counsellor for years. My first suggestions to someone stuck like me, someone who wanted to gain momentum after a pause, would be simple.
- Accept that these circumstances may be your new normal. It may take time before some of us adapt.
- Don’t attempt to solve your problems all at once.
- Remember, this also is a time of growth and development.
- Start anywhere. (I wrote a blog about learning life’s lessons from jigsaw puzzles. I also gave that advice then.)
- Take small steps.
- Try something new. See if it works.
- If it does, keep doing it.
- If not, try something else until you feel more motivated.
- Be kind gentle with yourself and other people.
If coming out of hibernation from your old life seems as difficult or more so than self-isolation, please join me on the journey of getting ‘back to normal’, whatever that might mean. Stay safe.