Coping with the Initial Panic of Returning to “Normal” During COVID-19

Coping with the Initial Panic of Returning to “Normal” During COVID-19

I woke up this morning, completely freaking out. Here in New Jersey, kids are going back to school, gyms are opening, indoor dining is happening, and I’m pretty sure that they’re going to let us go to the movies soon!? These new developments are happening quickly and have left me shook. I’m caught off guard, and I am spiraling out of control. After months of plotting and planning, I am not still nowhere near ready for whatever version of “normal” is being shoved down my throat. I’m so unprepared for this that I’m not even anxious yet. Just here, existing in a state of confusion and panic.

Once it became clear that COVID isn’t going anywhere and we were in it for the long haul with social distancing/ quarantine, I noticed a shift in my life happening, and I vowed to myself that I would never go back to the way things were. I am grateful for every season and every stage in my life (even my early 20’s when I made some spectacularly bad life choices), but I felt it in my soul, I heard what the universe has been telling me, and I knew it was time for me to level up. I want a VERY different life, and seeing as how I am the Queen of life transitions, I knew that I could create a fabulous life for myself without really having to leave my apartment.

To help you understand this shift, we need to bring it back to January 2020 when my only concerns in life were my hurt knees, planning a wedding in Mexico, and having a baby.

I decided to focus on my physical and mental health by implementing healthy eating habits, exercising, and cutting down on my alcohol intake. There are few things that I love more than day drinking in NYC. I live for a boozy brunch followed by a rooftop bar (yes, even in the winter), but I was not in a good place. I was going to physical therapy three times a week because my knees hurt so bad. I could not walk up and down stairs without a significant amount of pain and risk of falling. And if I am being honest, I wanted to lose weight. I have loved my body at all of its sizes, but the version that I was living in no longer supported the life that wanted to live and was putting me at risk for all kinds of scary health things. So, I stuck to the changes, and week after week, month after month, I have continued to meet the micro-goals that I have set for myself. On Sunday at 7:30 pm, the fire alarm in our building went off, and we had to evacuate down nine flights of stairs. If that had happened at the beginning of this year, I wouldn’t have been able to walk down those stairs by myself. (There was no fire. There never is. The fire alarm goes off in this building all of the time, but it’s never been on our floor. That alarm is scary, though.)

Our Mexico wedding is postponed indefinitely, but our plans to start a family are in full swing. I was diagnosed with PCOS last year, so I’ve been emotionally preparing myself for everything that comes with a struggling to get pregnant.

Every goal that I have, every move that I make, every moment of the last several months, is carefully planned out and calculated as it is centered around my desire to have, provide, and take care of my children. I have a crystal clear picture of what that looks like, and this is me working on manifesting that version of my life.

I have been very fortunate to be able to do my full-time job from home. My weekly commute time can be up to 15 hours (suck it, NJ traffic!), so I have found myself with plenty of time to work on building my version of a fabulous life. I have had time to read so many books, put time into this blog (or at least, flesh out what I want it to be), I invested in a life-changing course (Heyyyyy CeCe Olisa and Jessica Lynn and all of my Confident Creator Lab Ladies!!), I am building and creating, I’m hustling, and I am on the verge of something incredible. I am not ready to give up this time. Time is our most valuable resource – I’m not telling you something that you don’t already know. As I hear my biological clock ticking so loudly that it keeps me up at night and can feel mid-life hiding in the shadows ready to get me, I am no longer willing to settle for anything less than a life that sparkles. The reality that this could all go back to “normal” soon is too much for me to handle.

Because I’m a kick-ass therapist, I have all kinds of tools and tricks to help when people feel out of control. And that’s clearly what’s happening to me here. I got too comfortable, I’ve made plans, set goals, I dreamed big, and now, at any moment, someone can take all of my extra time away from me, robbing my future children and me of literally everything. Sounds completely reasonable and rational, right?

I need to bring myself back down to earth, which took a bit of effort. First, I dusted off the stationary bike that I bought in April but hardly every use (but I NEEDED it) and got moving. I popped in my AirPods and got down with a mindfulness mediation, which always feels like a warm, loving hug when I return. I braved the elements and enjoyed some fresh air and warm sunshine on my face. The ability to experience all of these things in one day is a luxury, but I knew that I needed to take the time, or I would just lay here watching Grey’s Anatomy. I was inspired and motivated by all that I did today and by the new school year and the start of a new month, so I downloaded a habit tracker off Etsy. Not only will this help keep me on task now, but this will also be a great tool should I find myself with less time on my hands.

Link to my new habit tracker

I did some cleaning and organizing. My kitchen is now the kind of clean where no one is allowed in there for the rest of the day. I also organized my earnings collection and thinned it out by getting rid of the broken, tarnished, and ones without mates. Really though, I just needed to make room for more.

I used my creative brain by journaling and writing this post that you’re enjoying. I know that I am not being personally victimized. I know that I will be able to make time for everything that continues to be important. I trust that everything happens as it is supposed to happen.

I have to continue to work to respond to the world around me rather than react to it. I will continue to take better care of myself, and I will continue to take advantage of this gift of time for as long as I have it.

One thought on “Coping with the Initial Panic of Returning to “Normal” During COVID-19

  1. I like that habit tracker and that exercise part I am still working on that one too!! I really miss the gym! But not willing to enter right now

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