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Returning to Normal After Quarantine: What to Consider

The pandemic hasn't ended yet, but we know things will get better. While we're waiting for that to happen, there are some things we can do to start getting ready for normal – or at least a version of it – when the quarantines, lockdowns, and stay-at-home orders are lifted.

Working toward our goals and dreams is important, of course, but it's also time to start making the shift from the way things are right now to the way they'll be in a few more weeks.

One of the ways you can make that shift is to move from “urgent” to “important.” Making sure you had cleaning supplies, masks, and toilet paper was urgent. So was ensuring you could work from home or have money coming in, and that your children could be homeschooled.

But now things have settled into more of a routine, and even that routine will change soon. But it won't change as drastically as it did going into the pandemic, because you'll be headed back to something you were familiar with in the past.

You'll be focused on the things that are important, like getting to and from your office safely, getting standard groceries your family needs, and reaching out to loved ones and friends you haven't seen in a while.

You may still need to stay six feet apart in the checkout line, but the freedom to move around, go to a restaurant, or shop for clothes at the mall is coming back soon. Those things are important, but they likely aren't urgent.

There's more to the issue than getting back to work, though. There are also things like preventive care to consider. That's important, and with things starting to go back to normal and more places opening up you can make those doctor and dentist appointments to get proper checkups. Minor issues can also be treated, so you can take them off your 'to-do' list.

Above all the changes and adjustments you've already made and will need to make in the future, remember to be grateful. Eating meals with your family, reading to your children at night, and experiencing a slower pace of life can make a big difference in the quality of that life. Before things speed up again, take the time to internalize the fact that nothing matters more than the people in your life.

Gratitude is the way to go, both now and in the days ahead. Teachers, doctors, medical professionals, grocery store employees, and fast food workers – they're all putting themselves at risk every day to help others. Being grateful for them, for their sacrifices, and for the ways they keep the world running is something worth taking time for.

Here are some takeaways, to carry into the coming weeks and your return to a more normal way of life:

  • Have patience with others, and with yourself. Returning to normal will take time.
  • Focus on being creative, as you work through new ways to do things.
  • Take a long-term view, and consider the experiences and lessons you've learned.
  • Value the connections you have, and the ones you've developed during the crisis.
  • Remember to be adaptable, since even normal may not be quite normal for a while yet.

We really can all get through this together. The comment section has turned so many people in faultfinders, but maybe the coronavirus has turned us into something more: praise finders, gratitude finders, and those who really do care about our fellow human beings, after all. That's a very valuable lesson coming out of a tragic time, and it's a lesson we need to remember as we return to normal again.

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Scott Foster is President of Wellco, based in Michigan. Scott is a frequently-invited expert and speaker regarding leadership, engagement and high-value health & wellness.  Wellco provides award-winning solutions to measurably improve health engagement and outcomes.

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