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  • Jennifer Smith

Return To Normalcy

June 15. The day that California will return to “normal” again. But what will this normal look like? This past year has been very traumatizing for many people. There has been so much loss, confusion, and anxiety. Due to the stay-at-home orders, most people have been very eager for the return to normalcy and to be able to enjoy life as it was pre COVID-19. Even though we are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel, mentally, we may not be fully prepared for it- and that is ok! In this blog, we will provide some tips on how to manage the emotions that come with the return to normalcy and life after COVID-19 that mental coach, Dr. Colleen Hacker, shared with viewers on the Laughter Permitted podcast with Julie Foudy.

Dr. Hacker immediately related the trauma caused by COVID-19 to a practice known as post traumatic growth or stress-related growth. She shared that we must reflect on these past 12 months or so and look at it from a perspective of how we can move forward and grow as a person. The goal of this is to find positive outcomes from the stressful and traumatic situations that occurred. The way that the growth will progress is through practice, getting better at something by increasing our coping skills. For example, our capacity to manage stress. Dr. Hacker also mentioned the importance of our closeness to others. During the pandemic we have benefitted from unexpected people in unexpected ways. In addition, we learned that some of the central people in our life were not really our people. Community and connection plays a huge role in recovering from trauma. Lastly, Dr. Hacker shared the significance of spirituality when overcoming the stress of COVID-19. By spirituality she doesn't mean religion but more of the sense of who you are in this world and what your purpose is.

Dr. Hacker provided many crucial tips for coping with the return to life after the pandemic, but she also emphasized that although the possibility to grow is available, it is up to the individual self to take advantage of this! Growth does not happen like magic. It is important to start with naming things. The most basic form of this is identifying how you are feeling and then doing something about those emotions. Also, celebrate the small things. If you have been nervous about leaving the house to go pick up coffee, but you conquer this fear, be proud of yourself for that! The growth journey is a long one, but do not forget to look at how far you have come. That is what will motivate and energize you to keep going!

If you want to hear more of what Dr. Colleen Hacker has to say, be sure to check out Episode 64 of the podcast “Laughter Permitted with Julie Foudy”!


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