Vaccinations are a significant step in moving forward from the COVID-19 pandemic. Although it is what we’ve been waiting for, the reopening of business and social activities, to full capacity, may not feel comfortable for a while. It’s okay to exercise your options and take smaller incremental steps, instead of throwing all caution to the wind.
Adjusting and getting back a sense of normal are experiences people with vision loss know all too well, but that does not make this process any easier. It should remind us, however, that change always takes time and often leaves us temporarily feeling weird and awkward. Managing reentry, into social gatherings and public spaces may not be as glee-filled for everyone. So go ahead, proceed at your own pace, do it your way.
The rules and regulations of the 2020 pandemic were largely thrust upon us. Re-entry offers an opportunity to write the next chapter, individually recovering from this massive disruption, stronger, smarter, and happier.
Be kind to yourself.
Take it easy, now is the time to consciously reduce the stress load our brains have been carrying. It’s okay to be selective and keep commitments light. Prioritize your mental health and physical well-being on a daily basis. Develop better nutrition and sleep habits. Showing yourself patience and grace strengthens your reserve for compassion to others.
Ease back in with small incremental steps.
Begin by celebrating reentry with one close friend (or two, vaccinated of course) in a social setting, then move on to more. Keep it small and outdoors, if that’s what makes you feel happy and secure. It may take some time to work up to larger gatherings. Negotiate a phased-in return to the office and keep the conferences virtual for a time. Ease back into public transportation with a travel schedule that accommodates your comfort. And take another look at OE’s 2021 theme article: This Year Small Changes are Big.
Take time to appreciate.
The simple act of recognizing and expressing thankfulness, each day, promotes happiness. Research shows the practice of gratitude fortifies our resolve, builds resilience, and improves overall mental health. Whether you write it, think it or share it, the more you do the better you get.
Removing the mask.
As this article is written, the CDC announces, it is safe for fully vaccinated people to stop wearing masks and they no longer need to maintain social distance, indoors or out. Masks will continue to be required when visiting medical offices, hospitals or long-term care facilities. The mask, unwelcome by some, provided others a real sense of safety. It won’t be easy for everyone to drop it overnight. Feel free to mask at your discretion, it is, after all, a sign of respect for the health of others.
The next phase is your chapter to write. Think about reevaluating. Things are changing anyway, so take the time to consider which routines, behaviors and activities you want to improve. Think small — not epic.