Here we find ourselves in March of 2021. The World Health Organization has just marked one year since the entire pandemic shut down and stay-at-home orders were issued last year. That’s quite an incredible landmark! What’s happened in that last year with all the challenges that we’ve had, is many of us who are not essential workers have been working from home, not doing anything, or possibly homeschooling our kids.
As a result of being home all the time and not going out, a lot of us have really fallen into a funk with ourselves—with our appearance, our grooming, our habits—because we haven’t really worried too much about how we look. Unfortunately, I noticed some people don’t even worry about how they look when they do a Zoom call. I don’t know what happened to some people taking care of their hair, their clothes, and general appearance.
I understand a lot of people had to delay getting their hair cut and colored. But here’s the thing: we’ve fallen into a slump. In fact, some people aren’t even brushing their teeth in the morning. That’s terrible! It’s time for us to start getting back into the world in increments, at least starting in our own home right now, to take care of ourselves.
My hometown just announced that they’re increasing indoor restaurant dining capacity by 10 percent. I thought that’s really a great way to slowly start to get us back into the world. I think that lesson can apply very much to us. We don’t have to go from staying at home and staying away from everybody to suddenly jumping out into the world and making a real drastic switch. What we want to do is gradually get ourselves back out there in small, incremental ways. That’s a wonderful thing to do.
Right now, of course, as a healthcare professional, I’m going to advise you to get vaccinated. I’m going to advise you to double mask for the time being, just to take extra safety precautions. Now that we’re coming into warmer weather, that’s also very much on our side. It’s much safer to get together with people outdoors, whether you’re dining or having get-togethers, you can more easily socially distance.
In the community where I live, a lot of people have been out walking in the warmer weather. We kind of congregate in the street and don’t get too close to each other. It’s a great way to actually see people and talk and communicate.
So start to reopen your life in small increments. First of all, take care of yourself, taking stock of where you are. What do you need to do to get yourself back into shape? To get out into the world, start taking some small steps to get back out. Do things outside, maybe even do some outdoor dining, and consider getting your hair done.
If you haven’t been back to the salon, there are lots of ways to do that safely. Hair salons are required to take all kinds of precautions. I’ve been to the hair salon a number of times. I wear a mask. The stylists are wearing masks and there is noticeable social distancing. I feel very safe in that environment. It also makes me feel better about myself of course too—to look good and show up in my best way.
What happens when we stay back and we hold back for such a long period of time? We start to get fearful of going back out into the world and that applies to many different situations in our life. So that’s not good either. Because sometimes the bigger the fear, the more you hold back, and the bigger the fear becomes. There’s a German proverb that says ‘fear makes the wolf grow bigger’ which means that the more you stay home and don’t get out into the world, the scarier the outside world looks.
It’s important to push yourself in a good way. Do it with family and friends, partaking in small things here and there. Get out to the public library. They’re taking amazing precautions in the public library! Start getting back out into the world.
We marked the one year staying home. Now it’s time to start the one year of getting back into the world and reopening your life. Please write to me, follow me on social media, send me an email. Share with me the things that you’re doing to reopen your life and let’s all do it together.
Donna Cardillo, RN, CSP, FAAN
Donna Cardillo, MA, RN, CSP (Certified Speaking Professional), FAAN (Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing) is The Inspiration Nurse. She is a powerhouse of energy, wisdom, humor, and solid content and has been referred to as a positive force of nature who lights a path for others to follow. Donna is the author of the award-winning book Falling Together: How to Find Balance, Joy, and Meaningful Change When Your Life Seems to Be Falling Apart. She is also the author of Your First Year as a Nurse: Making the Transition from Total Novice to Successful Professional 2nd ed., The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses: Practical Advice for Thriving at Every Stage of Your Career 2nd ed., and A Day Book for Beginning Nurses. Donna is a Reiki Master, Certified Forest Therapy Guide, Certified Meditation Teacher, and labyrinth facilitator. When she is at her home base in Sea Girt, NJ, she serves as a local spokesperson for family caregivers.