6 Tips for Peopling Post Pandemic

Peopling post pandemic has been difficult for Melbournites as they emerge from lock down number six. I’ve heard people frequently talking about fatigue and expressing frustration at not being able to function at the level they’d like to. Anxiety levels seem to be heightened and although the new freedoms offered to everyone in Melbourne are very much welcome, there is a general sense of unease about getting back out there. Reacquainting ourselves with social obligations and commitments is not always comfortable and it can feel unnatural after so many months of restriction. In short, we’re learning how to navigate “peopling” again.

We are all making massive changes to what had become our daily routine over the past 20 months. For example, our kids have returned to face-to-face learning, restaurants are open for dining, competition sport is commencing and workplaces are slowing allowing office workers to return. It’s a lot to take in. Everyone’s experience is different and our own reaction to the easing of restrictions can be variable day-to-day and even hour-to hour.

Peopling can be tiring, the simple act of reading facial expressions and body language can be draining after the extended period of not need to doing those things in person. Even the routine of preparing to leave the house has challenges after months making ourselves presentable from screen height up, while concealing PJs and slippers below.  Here are some ideas that you might like to consider as you transition into peopling again.

Suggestions to support your transition into peopling post pandemic

Review your calendar and set boundaries

Our social calendars have been largely empty for many months. Many interactions have been reliant on screens and phones. Although we are keen to catch up with everyone, it is a good idea not to over-schedule our family calendars. It’s okay to be unavailable to participate in back-to-back get togethers. Experiment with your limits. You can restrict the frequency of get togethers and keep your calendar of activities smaller until you have adjusted to peopling again.

Be Compassionate and Kind

Everyone is emerging from a very difficult time. Be aware that everyone’s journey throughout the pandemic has been unique and therefore, we’ll each emerge from the restrictions with different attitudes and experiencing different emotions. If we strive to be kind, compassionate and understanding then perhaps we can limit misunderstandings and avoid hurting others.

Practice Self-care

Make time for those things that make you feel great. Obvious things like eating well, drinking water, exercising and going to sleep at a reasonable time are all beneficial. Now might be a great time to reflect on what energised you during the lockdowns. I made more time to read, walk my dog, exercise with a friends, listen to podcasts and bake. I took great pleasure in bring the family together more frequently to enjoy games, movies, campfires and elaborate dinners. As we get busier remember to take care of yourself. Incorporate time for those activities that sustained you during lockdown. 

Dedicate time to what matters

Restrictions bring into focus what we miss from our schedule. I missed my family, friends and tennis, but I also identified that there were lots of things on my calendar that I thought I should do. Exiting lockdown is great time to review your obligations and prioritise what matters most. Try not to be too hasty in returning to your pre-pandemic schedule. Now is a great time to reflect on what matters most and then allocating your time accordingly.    

Monitor Anxiety Levels

Are you getting irritable or angry in the lead up to a social event? Think about what aspect of the upcoming interaction could be heightening your anxiety. Can anything can be done to alleviate your concerns? Will altering your arrival or departure time support you? Would enquiring about the vaccination status of other participants help? Don’t be afraid to discuss your concerns with the host or organiser. Gathering information can support your comfort level. Also if you communicate your decision and concerns in advance then you can politely leave with very little explanation.

Consider Seeking Help

A professional organiser can support you to evaluate your schedule and routines so that you can happily return to peopling.  If anxiety is persistent and affecting your function then please do seek medical advice. Anxiety disorders are very common and there are a number of effective treatments available to address them. Start by talking to your GP.

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