With lockdown restrictions easing in many countries badly affect by Coronavirus, certain challenges still remain. Life may be gradually returning to normal in some ways, but there are expertswarning us that intermittent periods of social distancing may be necessary for the long-term before a vaccine is discovered and implemented. With complete normality being unlikely to return any time soon, how should the ‘new normal’ shape our self-image and sense of direction?
Making Efforts to Connect With Others
Lockdown has meant long periods of isolation, more than most people are used to. But with cases and deaths attributed to coronavirus falling, governments across the world are allowing people to gather more. But mass gatherings may not resume until a vaccine is found. And as already mentioned, social distancing rules could be enforced for some time. All of this means a loss of connection and physical contact that we have been accustomed to.
If the lockdown has taught us anything, it’s that we are all susceptible to the negative effects of less social interaction and physical intimacy. Many of us have made efforts to connect with others on WhatsApp and with phone calls and video conversations. It’s important to continue with these extra efforts of connecting with others. As a social species, we need strong social and emotional connections with other people. This need may be frustrated in some ways in the post-lockdown, pre-vaccine period, but we can still satisfy this craving through regular contact with loved ones and by making new connections with likeminded people, which luckily, is easily achievable through social media.
The new normal might encourage us to see ourselves as more connected with others, noticing our common vulnerabilities and struggles. The common impact on our lives – be it our social lives, work, relationships, or mental health – could lead to greater feelings of compassion.
Greater Concern for Our Well-Being and That of Others
Perhaps one of the most important lessons from the coronavirus pandemic is that we have a certain responsibility in taking care of our well-being, as well as that of others. Knowing that being healthy and having a strong immune system can help fight the coronavirus could motivate people to place a greater priority on their physical health.
Even after lockdown eases or ends, this does not mean the atmosphere of the coronavirus pandemic will dissipate for many. Some people may still be struggling with anxiety and fears surrounding infection, the safety of loved ones, and the possibility of a second wave. This could encourage people to prioritize their mental health and develop psychological resiliency to get through this strange and difficult time.
Following the easing of restrictions, some countries may still advise measures such as washing hands, wearing face masks, social distancing, and limiting social contact. The police can’t stop everyone from breaking such rules, so it is largely up to us whether we choose to follow the latest advice on a day-to-day basis. These measures exist not just to protect ourselves but for others as well, especially the vulnerable, such as the elderly and immunocompromised.
Perhaps many people won’t get any new scope of consideration for others as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. But others are likely to widen their circle of those they are concerned about and be willing to make the necessary sacrifices to protect others.
The disruptive nature of the coronavirus pandemic is something we are all struggling with. But there are many lessons contained in the effects of the pandemic, as well as in how we react to it. There is certainly room to grow as a result of everything that’s going on.
About Sam Woolfe
I'm a freelance writer who is interested in mindfulness, mental health and the evolving concept of masculinity.
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