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Coping with Post-Pandemic Life

Working as a therapist during the pandemic was fascinating. I received an up-close-and-personal look into the anxieties people experienced during stay-at-home orders, the ways that they coped (either healthily or unhealthily), and the thoughts that kept them up at night. Once restrictions started to loosen, so, too, would peoples' anxieties, I figured.

Maybe not.

It turns out that post-pandemic life has brought a new host of challenges for many people in different ways, some of which have surprised and worried many of my patients. In today's post, I'll discuss what some of the most common challenges I've witnessed and how you can cope.

First Thing's First: What Difficulties are People Experiencing Post-Pandemic?

Peoples' responses to the world now can be categorized in the following ways:

  1. The "I Never Realized I Was This Introverted" Person

  • This is the person who is wondering if the hustle-and-bustle of pre-pandemic life was highly unhealthy and overrated. Not realizing just how full their social calendar was, they might be surprised about how much quiet time they need. Now they're asking themselves if they'll ever feel "normal" again—if they'll ever be as social as they used to be, if they'll ever have the desire to go out for overpriced dinners with friends again, or if they'll ever be able to reconnect with their "true" work ethic.

2. The "I Never Knew I Was So Social" Person

  • On the other end of the spectrum, we have individuals who were proudly introverted before the pandemic. These are the people who didn't find the transition to staying at home particularly jarring since they were already used to deciphering which excuse was most believable when it came to avoiding social gatherings. Now, however, this is the person who's realizing that some connection feels awfully different than no connection and that perhaps the lone wolf lifestyle leaves much to desire. Their current anxieties revolve around how they're going to make more friends, find a significant other, and avoid future loneliness at all costs.

3. The "Life Should Never Be 'Normal' Again" Person

  • This is the individual who was surprised at the amount of anxiety they experienced at the height of COVID. They may have found themselves spending countless hours reading news articles about the virus, ordering groceries online, and intensely washing produce when it arrived. Now they continue to live in a state of fear and are baffled when others' habits become less rigid. Presently, they experience frustration and anger at why people aren't continuing to take cautionary measures and feel like they'll probably wear a mask for the rest of their lives.

4. The 'Business as Usual' Person

  • This is the individual who learned that pre-pandemic life actually had a lot of perks. Their kids going to school gave them a much-needed break for uninterrupted "adult time." Commuting to work allowed them to unplug after a long day, going to the gym allowed them to be more intentional about their workouts, and seeing friends regularly meant that they didn't have to be with their partner 24/7. This is the person who likely resisted every COVID-related measure, who scoffed whenever they sanitized their hands, and who simply cannot wait for life to "go back to the way it was." They are yearning for the day where we no longer have to wear masks and didn't experience anxiety in the height of the pandemic so much as they did frustration and perpetual annoyance.

How to Cope

  1. For the 'I Never Realized I Was This Introverted' Person...

  • If looking back on how you were before the pandemic causes you to gasp and wonder how you didn't have a nervous breakdown, it says a lot about how hard you were pushing yourself beforehand. If it took a pandemic to teach you that you need to slow down, there's an opportunity to keep learning how to do less.

  • As we enter a post-pandemic world, your task is to remember what self-care looks like. It's to schedule some weekends during the month were you don't see a single other human so that you have time to unwind and not be "on." It's to set time aside where you are intentional about not being productive and just doing things for the sake of relaxation or enjoyment. (If you need some help with this, check out this other blog post: