How much longer? ….until I can take this mask off? ….have a beer with my neighbor?….send the kids to school?….go back to the office?….get on an airplane? “How much longer” is the unanswered question of 2020. Six months into this pandemic and we still don’t know what will follow.
We yearn for the time when life as we knew it will be restored, but it may never come. The structures we relied on may not hold. The way forward is uncertain. There is no map to follow. We’re standing on the threshold of something new, but we don’t know what. It’s the uncertainty that takes a toll on our patience, our outlook on life, our STRESS!
Yet, life goes on even in this time between pre- and post-pandemic. There are still 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week, children to feed and jobs of daily living to do. But life as we knew it has shifted. Perhaps it’s slowed down or maybe it’s gotten even crazier with children at home 24/7, on-line schooling and job uncertainty.
There is a concept in psychology called liminal space. It references the process of standing on the threshold of something yet to come. Life is full of these transitions, both large and small. You’ve experienced them before as you prepared for a new job, looked forward to the birth of a child or your upcoming wedding. People in the midst of liminal space can feel excitement for what’s to come as well as crippling fear of the future. Liminal space is not meant to be occupied for long periods of time. That’s what makes the pandemic so strange, uncomfortable and even painful at times.
It’s important to take care of yourself during times of transition. How are you holding up? What forms of self-care are you practicing? I’m trying to let go of expectations and stay positive. I’ve given up the idea of traveling to see my family for now. I don’t expect to see friends in person. I’m doing most of my grocery shopping online. But, I’m also taking walks in nature, appreciating the outdoors, staying connected with family and friends, and monitoring my diabetes by maintaining a healthy exercise and eating program. I’m also giving myself permission to grieve occasionally for what I’ve lost.
I’m writing too. Write To Be Well™ is my ballast. It grounds me in the midst of all this uncertainty and improves my stability. When I write, I reflect on what’s important now and make plans for staying on course.
I’m not sure how long we’ll be in liminal space or where we’re heading in our post-pandemic world. But we will get to the other side eventually. Hang in there! And give writing about it a try! Here’s a question to get you started.
- What comforts you in the midst of this pandemic?
- Is it effective for you or do you need to explore something different?