What I'm Struggling with "Post-Pandemic"

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

First things first: I don't like using the phrase "post-pandemic" because we are still very much in the midst of a pandemic, even when it doesn't feel like it. Worldwide, 3.9 million people have died of COVID-19, & the delta variant & others are real & threatening. 

For the purposes of this post, though, saying "post-pandemic" really means "post-quarantine." Now that restrictions have lifted & life largely feels safer (for me as a fortunate, vaccinated, science-beliving American human), I'm struggling a little bit. That feels unfair, doesn't it? We've all struggled enough during quarantine; now we have to struggle coming out of it, too? 

Anyway.

I'm overwhelmed all the time.

It's great to suddenly have plans again, to be able to spend time with people again. I missed going out to eat & going to people's houses & just... doing stuff. But I'd also gotten used to the calmness of an empty calendar, to not having any plans.

I want to be social & remain grateful for the return of those opportunities to have a social life again. But I also don't want to overdo it. I want to be able to retain some of that calm, to continue to tap into the chill that comes with an empty calendar.

My self-esteem is shot.

Do I remember how to interact with other human beings? What did I even just say? Was that weird? OK, yeah, that was definitely weird. Better luck next time! (Except then next time is weird, too.)

Is this happening to anyone else? I suddenly seem to have no faith in my ability to be around other people &, like, be likable. After most social interactions, I retreat back into my own head to worry about everything I said or did & how it could've been interpreted & whether everyone hates me. Ugh.

I feel kinda busted.

Don't get me wrong, I loved wearing yoga pants & tie-dyed sweatshirts for a year. But all that time spent in scrubby clothes – not doing my hair or makeup, never trying to look nice – has me feeling like I've sort of forgotten how.

I've been trying to do things to combat those feelings, like getting a real haircut from Krasa instead of doing it myself (which I never blogged about, but which did not go well). I signed up for Stitch Fix to step out of my comfort zone & stock my closet with nicer clothes. I've been using Curology to clear up my skin. But in the meantime... damn, I'm feeling a little haggard... just in time to turn 37 in less than a month.

***

Truth be told, I'm in awe of people who seem to have fully bounced back – people who are their full selves again, already, without any adjustment period in between. That's just not me, & even though I'm feeling safer than I have in months, my brain can't seem to get over the hump of some of the anxiety associated with the previous year. 

I know (errr, hope) that all of these issues are temporary, that they are to be expected following an incredibly unexpected, unprecedented year & a half (or however long it's been at this point). I know that we're all struggling in various ways, & I feel lucky to have come out of the pandemic relatively unscathed – & now, fully vaccinated. 

It's just gonna be a little while – for me, at least – before things feel normal. And in the meantime, I'm just trying to give myself the space & understanding to let that be OK. 

How about you? How are you doing? Is there anything you're struggling with in the wake of those peak pandemic times?

1 comment:

Anne said...

Right there with you. SO right there with you. I think I'm actually worse. I am really struggling getting back "out there", and delta is just solidifying that. I love my comfy clothes, I dread going in the office, even for 2 days/week, etc. So no, you're not alone. I don't understand how people are just throwing off their masks and going straight back to "how it was" but... they must be wired differently than we are. :) Hope you're managing to find some sort of balance that works for you...

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