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Easing Back into Post-Pandemic Life

Back in April, just as most Americans were getting as giddy as kids in a candy shop over the prospect of a life post-COVID, we stumbled on an interesting article on In it, author Aviva Loeb said that despite the general merriment about once again being able to go out to eat, roam the aisles of grocery stores maskless, and, best of all, visit with friends and loved ones, some folks were experiencing “mixed emotions.”

Indeed, both here at Quarry Hill and amongst our friends and relatives elsewhere, we’ve found that some people are feeling a bit anxious about returning to normal. Some worry they’ve lost the art of casual chit-chat. Others fear it’s too soon to let down our guard. Seniors, particularly those in their 80s and 90s, question whether they have the stamina or even the desire to do what they did pre-pandemic.

Quarry Hill health services coordinator Nina Cunningham, RN, says some of Loeb’s advice for “easing back” into a more outgoing way of life may be especially useful for older adults and those trying to help them adjust.

For starters, Nina counsels elders who’ve been sick with COVID or suffered the loss of someone they love to “give yourself time to process what you’ve been through.” Journaling, walking or spending time outdoors, or talking with a trusted confidante or mental health provider can help bring closure and make it easier to carry on.

If you’re among the legions of introverts who have long appreciated periods of solitude, or if you found you liked the slower pace that resulted from COVID restrictions and cancellations, remember that you can keep whatever aspects of life under COVID you’ve liked. Do try to build some form of social engagement back into your life, because everyone needs at least a little in-person interaction for the sake of mental health. But be choosy. Pick only those activities or contacts you truly enjoy.

Finally, embrace your inner curmudgeon. Even if everyone around you is raving about the experiences they can’t wait to have this summer, it’s okay to take a more conservative approach. Plenty of people are still wearing masks inside grocery stores and saying “no thanks” to wedding invitations. They’re not wrong. In fact, they’re providing a public service by reminding the rest of us of the importance of remaining vigilant, lest current policy relaxations lead to new outbreaks.

We’ll have more on this topic in the next issue of Quarry Hill’s News & Views newsletter. In the meantime, please enjoy “easing back in”—in whatever ways and to whatever extent your comfort level allows.