The masks may be off, and it may feel like we’ve been set free, yet for many fear and trepidation remain. How do we regain our confidence in being with others and building our lives moving forward? While the answers will vary for each of us depending on our circumstances, here are some thoughts that may help.
First, give yourself permission to take baby steps. Here in Maryland, when Governor Hogan announced on a Wednesday that on Saturday—three days away—if you were vaccinated there would no longer be a requirement to wear a mask indoors, I have to admit I was shocked. To go from mask to no mask in three days felt like too quick a jump—so much caution had been exercised in our area and now it was suddenly gone. For me, a beginning step was to not wear a mask outdoors anymore, and that felt freeing. The mask had come to represent protection—for myself and others. While I could stop wearing a mask, the outward sign that the situation had changed, inwardly I need more time to adjust and that is okay.
The second suggestion is to seek to align your three centers—head, heart, and body—so that you can reenter situations with inner balance and grounding. It may be unnerving for many to be in larger groups, especially inside, so find that place within that is grounded and protected. Certainly, take the precautions you need, and before you step out, do the three-centered practice so that you acknowledge the mix of thoughts, feelings, and sensations you are experiencing as you emerge and tap into that part of you that is ready to fully engage with others.
Third, while you may have been meeting with friends and family in your “pod,” you may be returning to the workplace or attending a large family gathering and that may come with some hesitation or anxiety. Even if you have been more engaged with the world, changing situations may still bring some uncertainty. Listen to you “gut” and ask for what you need. Whether you need to know what precautions have been taken in the workplace, if the person you’ll be sitting next to is vaccinated, or if a family event will have an outdoor option, these requests are valid, and your “gut” will reveal your level of readiness.
There are some who say, “Just get over it and get back to life.” Well, I don’t know about you, but I am saying that to myself and have a little shame around not being able to just get back out there. Yet, something inside of me just isn’t quite ready, and I know that being a little cautious is still a good idea, for me.
It is important to find your own balance between healthy caution and paralyzing fear, right action and taking no action, and healthy reconnections with others and remaining isolated from others. It is time to move back to living our lives fully—choose how you do it with compassion and confidence!
PRINCIPAL, TRANSFORM, INC.