Words of Wellness: Is it over yet?

March 26, 2021 - Culture of Caring - Claudia Finkelstein

After a year of waiting, waiting some more, and asking ourselves ‘when it will end?’ there is a glimmer of hope on the horizon. So, it may come as a surprise to notice anxiety – and maybe even dread – about what will happen when “it’s over.”

In the beginning, huge changes occurred synchronously for all of us. The Stay Home Stay Safe order, mandates to mask, distance, wash hands, and to work remotely if possible, came at the same time for all of us. Although the challenges of staying home, educating children and working at odd hours or going to work in a lot of PPE had individual twists, we all faced huge changes in life at the same time. Eventually this became the “new normal.” We ultimately came to grips with masking, spitting and filling in health forms before going to campus when necessary.

Now the big question is how and when will it all end? Then, what will this mean in my situation? Will I want to go back? Will I have to go back? Will my co-workers be following safety protocols?

It is all definitely more uncertain given that there will not be one magic day when our MSU campus fully reopens. We may be allowed back to work, we may be compelled to go back to work, we may be eager to stay home, we may even be enthusiastic to get back to work. The bottom line is, you’re not alone if you’re experiencing some anxiety regarding the end. Our pets and children have gotten used to us being around; we may have gotten used to healthy home cooked meals and not having to spend hours in our cars. We may be lonely; we may have realized how much we relish the quiet. You get the idea.

We want to know what is going to happen and when. We look to the experts for answers and they tell us they don’t know. There are improving vaccination rates and there are emerging variants of concern.

So, speculation about the “new normal” abounds. Besides the serious speculations, there is humorous speculation along the lines of hoping zippered pants and high heels will never be normal again.

In summary, please know that it’s normal to feel a little unsettled at the prospect of the end of the pandemic. The uncertainty will not vanish overnight.

So, follow the wise advice found in every Dean’s Update: “Please take care of each other, listen to each other, and be rigorous about preventing the spread of COVID-19. Wear your mask, wash your hands, spatially distance, and when you get the chance, get vaccinated.”

Remember to keep one foot in the present moment by trying out a pop-up mindfulness session. while getting some support and cautiously planning ahead.

Resources for Support

If you are interested in submitting a Culture of Caring essay, poem, article, or topic to explore, please send your ideas to finkel22@msu.edu for consideration.

Read more Words of Wellness from the Culture of Caring.