When this year kicked off in our little town square in Gettysburg there was excitement in air. A band was playing on a built-up stage as people danced and sang and held onto one another for both warmth and connection as the clock inched closer to midnight. The countdown began and as midnight struck the fireworks lit up the sky. Couples shared a New Year’s kiss, kids shouted and cheered, and collectively we all rang in the New Year together in our little town square. Towns across the country and around the world shared similar New Year’s Eve celebrations.
Fast forward to March. Three short months later and our little town was shut down in an effort to stop the spread of the new virus that was sweeping across our planet. In June, the effects of the shutdown were both seen and felt as our streets were devoid of tourists and tour buses. Our restaurants were not packed with long wait times and standing room only. In fact, if it were not for the heat of summer one would think it was a typical day for Gettysburg in our off-season time of year.
This year has taken a toll on our town. Our people. The emotional toll and COVID fatigue are felt by many like a heavy blanket as we near the end of 2020. Our restaurants and health businesses have felt the brunt of these shutdowns and some of them have been forced to close.
When will this end? With a vaccine? With another year? More shutdowns?
One thing is certain…what we consider “normal” has shifted. We have had to adapt to a new sense of normal and as a result many of us have become depressed, isolated and feeling defeated.
What began as what I liked to refer to as “COVID Malaise” has transitioned into a more permanent feeling of “COVID Lethargy”.
SO, what now? Now we redefine our daily lives. Accept that things are different. Accept that what “used to be” is no longer the “way it is” and find a way to adapt. We are great at adapting when it suits us but tend to have a difficult time adapting when change is forced upon us.
But what can you do?
Live your life. Find ways to connect with loved ones through video calls or distanced visits outdoors. Get back to living and doing again. Did you use to like baking but now feel like it’s a chore? Why? If you remove the phrases “used to do”, “before COVID”, and “nothing is open”, you will make space for phrases like “I am going to”, “let’s plan to”, and “now we can”.
There is a corny phrase that I love…”Perception is reality.” If you perceive something to be true, then in your reality it is true. Mindset is a very powerful thing. If you think you cannot do something, then you are probably right.
I am NOT suggesting COVID is not still out there and that you should throw caution into the wind. I AM suggesting that you find a way to adapt to what has been our new reality for the better part of a year and start being an active participant in your life again. Change is a process. Celebrate the small things and begin to make plans again and begin looking forward to things that you can and will do. Make space once again for possibilities and what is next.