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Moving Past COVID
As we head toward a return to in-person classes and work, I am reflecting on how COVID has changed the way we connect with others, the way we move in the world, the way we learn, and the way we do our work.
Over the last 15 months, we have adapted to profound disruptions to our routine. While there are commonalities, each person’s experience of the COVID-19 pandemic is unique. For some, there may have been some positives to the physical distancing measures, whereas for many others, there may have significant challenges and losses.
As we begin the transition to post-pandemic life, aim to set aside some time to reflect on the past year and to prepare--mentally, emotionally and practically--for the return to in-person learning, working, and socializing. Here are some things to consider as you undertake that process:
Recognize and honour your feelings. Whatever comes up for you when you think of the past year and the large-scale return to in-person learning and working, acknowledge that these feelings are real, appropriate and not to be ignored. At the same time, try to remember that, like the wind, feelings are intended to come and go.
Take stock of your daily routines. What will need to change? What routines or activities will you be able to carry forward?
Identify what has energized or comforted you in the past year. Consider incorporating it into your regular routine. Set aside time for activities that contribute to your sense of well-being.
Develop a plan for a gradual return to in-person life. If you haven’t been to campus in over a year, consider coming to campus before classes start to see how that feels for you. Give yourself time and space to re-adapt to public life.
Re-assess your personal boundaries. Long-term physical distancing protocols may have impacted your sense of personal space. Think about what you need to feel safe and comfortable as you return to public life and how you can communicate those needs and boundaries to others.
Consider writing down your experience. Try keeping a journal to note the changes in yourself, and in your thoughts, feelings or behaviour. Take note of the changes you experience and recognize your growth and resilience.
Seek out support (in-person or online) from friends, family, community groups, or formal support services, such as Health and Counselling Services, the Sexual Violence Support & Prevention Office, the Centre for Accessible Learning, or MySSP.
We know our world will still have COVID in it. What is different is now we know how to manage it and how to care for ourselves and our community.
when the future
feels far off
and you can’t see
through the fog
don’t forget to look for
right now, right in front of you.
About the Author: Larisa Fry (she/her) works collaboratively within Health and Counselling Services (HCS) to provide individual and group counselling. She also works in collaboration with the Sexual Violence Support & Prevention Office (SVSPO) staff members to ensure streamlined access of support for students impacted by sexual violence, works collaboratively on prevention efforts, and helps ensure that faculty, staff and students are aware of resources available on campus.