*The readjustment phase*.
Like a trusty friend during isolation, You Tube has given me insights into and inspiration from other people’s lives, that have helped me build upon the positives in my own life, during a time with no face to face company. From bullet journaling, to crafts and creativity, prayer and faith, exercise, cooking, morning and evening routines, to simple entertainment, I’ve had plenty to think about and be inspired by. While pondering what possible analogy I could use to try to express the psychological and emotional shift that happens during times of change and readjustment, and the mixed emotions that some of us may be beginning to feel, it was in fact some videos from You Tube that came to mind!
There’s a lovely and entertaining family that vlogs about their life, and in recent videos, the parents were working on a surprise for their young twin girls to upgrade / redo their shared bedroom. When the girls finally saw the surprise they were so happy. They were excited about the new floor space to do cartwheels that their new bunkbeds gave them and were ‘over the moon’ with all the new things that they had and were able to do in their space. Well done parents ! 🙂 . However….. after a few nights the girls started shouting for help and saying they felt scared and ended up explaining that they loved their room but they were ‘going through an adjustment’. Pretty articulate for six year olds to express and explain that emotion, I thought.
I don’t know about you, but in the past few days I’ve experienced feelings of excitement, hope, apprehension and tiredness. It’s been a long four months, with many things to be grateful for, but despite the restrictions, the ‘cabin fever’ and so on, there has been, at least for me, a growing sense of comfort and stability in the predictable nature of day to day life. There’s been a sense of security and even of growth, and I’ve certainly benefited from a slower pace of life. Now, however, it’s like we’ve been given more ‘floor space’, and while at times we may feel like doing cartwheels and handstands, we may also be faced with unsettled or sleepless nights.
I think it’s worth recognising that there will be a degree of psychological and emotional shift for all of us. We’ve braved our first (and hopefully last) pandemic (but it’s not over yet!), we’ve made it through to the other side of our first ‘lockdown’, and restrictions have been significantly lifted in recent days. Yet what we’re moving into isn’t quite the same as what we had before. We have new freedoms, but they’ve changed. The excitement of meeting with friends may be slightly dampened by not being able to embrace them just yet. We might feel a sudden thirst for adventure again with the renewed prospect of being able to do more things, go places, see things for the first time or after a long time, having had the same surroundings day after day for one third of a year. But things have changed. We’re not out of the woods quite yet, there is that underlying risk of a ‘second wave’, and we still need to be aware of all the public health measures that we need to stick with, and maybe some of us are not quite ready to take the next step.
I think the mental realisation that this is a time of adjustment, of processing and reprocessing change is a shared reality in differing ways and to different degrees depending on our experience and circumstances.
I find it helpful though to be able to tell myself that the mixed emotions and figuring out of thoughts is a normal part of adjustment and readjustment to change, and the ‘new normal’ that we are still not yet all that familiar with.
It’s ok to feel unsettled at this stage. It’s ok to feel excited one moment and apprehensive the next. It’s ‘normal’ (or ‘new normal’, or something!).
One of the ways I began to process my experience of lockdown to enable me to have a productive time rather than days drifting into days into days, was to create for myself a ‘vision board’ (online) for my time in quarantine. While grappling with change and uncertainty, my first point of reference will always be the Unchanging Truth that I build my life and faith upon, however, for the day to day practicalities and making sense of what to do, I find I need to ‘reorient’ my brain, my mind, to figuring out how to look forwards and take the next productive steps as I walk through and navigate the changes ahead.
So, I guess for me it’s time to draw up a ‘post-quarantine vision board’ to help make sense of the next few weeks at least, and the adjustment phase we all find ourselves in. It works for me to a certain extent, or at least it did before.
Maybe you can inspire me, if you feel like it with how you are adapting to, managing and making sense of these changing days.