How to deal with post-pandemic life

Post-pandemic life talk! Depending on where you live, you may be knee deep in lockdown or starting to see the light. Either way, I’m sending you a lot of patience and positive energy along the way, and here are some thoughts for moving forward, which you can use now or later. Let’s chat.

I felt called to write this post about post-pandemic life, because I’ve been hearing more and more about people starting to feel post-pandemic anxiety, worries and fears. I’ve definitely thought of this quite a bit too. And as I always have to say this as a disclaimer: I’m not an expert in post-pandemic life at all (I’ve never done it before!), but I’m sharing my thoughts today, in the hopes that they can be even a little bit helpful. If you don’t agree, that’s cool too. 

Here we go …

While mostly I’m excited to “get back to normal,” I also know that this is a “new normal,” and I want to do it better and differently. Part of that will be easy for me, as I’m getting “back to normal” on the other side of the country, in a new state and new city in a new house with new surroundings and new people than I was pre-pandemic. That being said, I’ve learned many things from the last year that I’m taking with me.

I do not want to be over-scheduled. I will not say yes to every opportunity that comes my way. And I will aim to build fewer deeper and better relationships, rather than more surface friendships that fizzle when times get tough. I want to continue to focus on my home and family life a lot, because it’s super important to me. 

By the way, something I think we should take note of: There may not be an official ending day to the pandemic that we can celebrate. Yes, more things will open, more normalcy will return, but there will always be the slight risk that things could surge again. I feel like we need to proceed with major caution. But I also think we’re ready to take those baby steps in the right direction, especially if you chose to get vaccinated, and you’re in the U.S.. (Once again, I know people in different countries are still much harder hit, and I’m hoping that they see progress soon.)

How to deal with post-pandemic life

How to deal with post-pandemic life by A Lady Goes West

I think one of the most important things to remember is that if you are dreading something that you think you will soon return to post-pandemic, you owe it to yourself to investigate whether you really need to return to it at all.

Here are some other thoughts on post-pandemic life …

Say no, and use “no” as a complete sentence.

It’s very important to have in-person human connection, and I think we all need it. But we do not have to say yes to every invitation we get moving forward just because we are closer to getting to do that now that the pandemic is easing up (mostly, although not fully). You are allowed to give a “no” as a complete sentence. Sure, you can give a reason, but you can also just give a no. If you don’t want to do something and you don’t think it will be something good for you to do, don’t do it. This works in our social life, but sometimes in can work in our professional life too, depending on the circumstances.

And just because you hung out with a certain group pre-pandemic, does not mean you have to pick back up and hang out with that group again, if you feel like you’re ready to move on.

If you find yourself giving out a bunch of no’s, then maybe you need to be the one coming up with ideas, reaching out to people and creating opportunities to connect on your terms. Connection is integral to our mental and emotional health. But you are more than allowed to do it how you want to do it, not how someone else wants you to do it.

Take care of your health. Take care of your health. Take care of your health.

Isn’t it funny how all the super powers in the world were able to come together to create a vaccine in a year, but we can’t get those great minds together to inspire people to be healthier, rather than just to fix us when we’re sick. I know that sounds rough and harsh (and hey, I took the vaccine, happily), and the fact that you read this blog lets me know you care about your health too. Yet, the world makes it so easy to be unhealthy. And this isn’t anyone’s fault in particular, it’s just that health has never been something praised or commended, as much as money, fame, prestige and materials things have been praised and commended.

The thing I’m most proud of is my health, and the health of my family. We are far from perfect, but we do what we can to feel good and to feel well.

It’s too common that when we get busy, our workouts, sleep and nutrition fall to the wayside. And I think we all need to be extra cautious to not let that happen again. That means prioritizing your sleep (give yourself a bed-time alarm, and stick to it). That means choosing a lot of produce with every meal. That means moving your body regularly.

But that doesn’t mean being so strict and regimented in the name of health, that you lose sight of what real health is. You also don’t need a label on your health with a name such as Paleo or keto or vegan, etc. Labels are overrated, and they don’t mean you are healthy either.

If you are concerned about your health, meet with a doctor and a registered dietitian for some help — doctors don’t have the time to give you thorough nutritional advice, by the way, so you’ll need someone who specializes in that like an RD or a certified nutrition coach to assist with diet recommendations.

If you felt your health slip during the pandemic, I hope you can start to get it back, because it is not something you can put on the back-burner. And if you felt your health improve during the pandemic, keep up with that forward motion. Health is true wealth.

Post-pandemic by A Lady Goes West

Moms need help. Parents need help. Ask for help.

Parents had it rough during the last year. It was hard to be everything for our kids and try to take care of ourselves and our work too. Dave and I have never had the luxury of nearby family care-takers to help with Brady on a regular basis, and we’ll likely never have that. But, we do need outside help sometimes. And we went for many, many months during the last year without anyone watching Brady, until he finally got back into a preschool for a few mornings a week.

I know I mentioned a book I read during the pandemic that made me really angry (it’s this one), and it explained the hardships that mothers face trying to “do it all.” It also explained how society has sort’ve set us up to fail in many ways, with little support systems. For real: It should not be expected or celebrated for a mom or parent to do it all. We need help from others. I’m so happy Brady is in preschool, and we now have the addition of gym daycare in our lives, and we are going to be searching for a couple nice babysitters to have on call too. There’s nothing wrong with needing help with your kids, and anyone who makes you feel that way needs to kindly shut up.

I don’t have a suggestion here other than to never be afraid to ask for help. We don’t have to be everything for our children. We need to do our best and get assistance from friends, family, daycares, child-care centers or babysitters as we can. 

Childcare shouldn’t be so expensive either, but that’s a post for another day. Nonetheless, reach out.

It’s amazing to be a parent, but it can also be overwhelming. And parents need to take care of themselves in order to be good parents. Here’s your permission to ask for help!

Life after the pandemic by A Lady Goes West

Do not chase your “pre-pandemic” fitness or body. Find a new and improved path.

Another thing I’ve been hearing chatter about lately is that companies are coming for you and your pandemic body. If you kept yourself alive, kept your family alive and even maintained employment over the last year, you did enough. I know some people felt like they had more time to work out and were able to make improvements. But I think the majority of people do not feel that they are currently in their physical peak. And you know what? Not a big deal.

We all go through seasons of feeling more in shape than others. I can tell you first-hand that my fitness and lean muscle are not where they were before the pandemic. But I’m not trying to “get my body back,” I’m trying to improve my overall functional fitness and pursue more of the movement that I love. Maybe I’ll even surpass where I was before? Maybe I’ll stay the same? I don’t know, but it’s not going to dictate my happiness. Because I will continue to try.

The point of this: You do not need a cleanse. You do not need a reset. You do not need an extreme 90-day program. You need to move your body regularly in challenging ways (with variety), you need to eat nutritious whole foods most of the time, and you need to schedule your workouts into your life in a way that work for you.

And if your pre-pandemic clothes don’t fit, list them on Poshmark, make some money, and buy new clothes that fit better.

You will know when you are feeling good in your routine and you are doing what you need to do. And it does not need to be extreme. I repeat, it does NOT need to extreme.

Think outside the box with your routine. Just because you did it before, doesn’t mean you have to do it again.

You don’t have to be a gym rat exclusively or a home-workout warrior exclusively. You can do both. And maybe you don’t have to work from home every day or have to work at an office every day, maybe you can do both. Have you asked?

I think we’re all realizing that we don’t necessarily want things to be all one way. For me, I can’t wait to take and teach in-person classes, but I also plan to do a couple workouts at home each week. I will continue to work from home (obviously), but may throw in working from other locations here and there too, as I can.

I’m not going to try to re-create my pre-pandemic life here in Charlotte, and as much as I’m a creature of habit pulled to create similar routines — I’m doing it differently.

What can you do differently with your routine? I bet you know, but you’re unsure of how to explore it. Once again, here’s your permission to explore that change.

Post-COVID life by A Lady Goes West

If you feel yourself getting overly scheduled. Stop. Assess. Remove.

This is one where I know I need to be careful. Before the pandemic, Brady and I were out and about every morning and afternoon, only home mid-day for his nap. I scheduled walks. We went to the library. He had preschool. We ran errands. I taught a lot of group fitness. I practiced to teach a lot of group fitness. We were always on the go. While I can’t wait to get back to teaching in-person classes, I know I do not want to sign myself up for too many, and I will not agree to teach classes that don’t work for our family schedule.

I used to wake Brady up from his afternoon nap, change him, feed him and basically shove him in the car at least a couple days a week in order to teach early-afternoon classes, because those were the only slots available to me at the time. In hindsight, the rushing stressed me out and wasn’t something I plan to repeat. I would always dread the transition from his nap to the gym, particularly on Tuesdays when I needed to be at the gym by 4:30 p.m. for a 4:45 p.m. class. 

And the thing is, what we’ve learned over the last year, is that we didn’t have to do a lot of the things that we were doing. I absolutely wanted to be teaching a lot of classes, but I didn’t need to always be on the go. I want to have more space. And when I feel my plate getting too full in my post-pandemic life, and my activities always being rushed, I will stop, assess and remove.

Space to breathe, space to think and space to be are all super important. We all need some time to think and be in order to stay grounded, rather than constantly rushing from one thing to another.

After COVD life tips by A Lady Goes West

Overall thoughts …

As I said at the beginning of the post, we’re not fully in the clear here in the United States (and certainly not elsewhere in the world), but as things begin to open more, I challenge you to question, consider and be very intentional about how you approach your post-pandemic life. 

I know that people are getting worried about launching back into terrible commutes, launching back into packed schedules and launching back into activities that do not bring them joy. It’s totally normal and okay to have anxiety around the changes coming our way, but remember that you are in the driver’s seat of your life — and any way you can modify your situation to feel better for you, do it.

That’s it for today! Thank you for reading my thoughts on post-pandemic life. Be well! xoxo

Other posts you may like …

A few other posts that are related to this topic:

Questions of the day

How are you going to approach your post-pandemic life differently?

Have you felt any anxiety about “going back to normal”?

How are you?

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11 Comments

  1. I loved this post, Ashley. {I mean, when do I not? But still….}

    I am in slightly worse shape now than pre-pandemic, but it has nothing to do with the pandemic and everything to do with my job situation then vs. now. But I appreciate the reassurance and reminder that we should not feel like we have to chase what we used to be, but instead to improve and continue making healthy steps.

    Xoxo

    1. Hi Courtney! Happy Tuesday, my friend. As always, thank you for reading and for sharing your thoughts too. I think we’re constantly evolving, and there’s no need to look back at what was, unless it’s to learn from it. I hope you have some new positives in your life with your different job situation and new apartment, etc. You are already in great shape and are super healthy, so I don’t think for even a minute you should worry about it maybe not being exactly where you used to be! xoxoox

      1. Thank you! Yes, this new job is so much better and I’m so grateful to be where I am. I still have a long way to go in life. But at least I know I’m doing the very best I can. Thank you for your encouragement.
        Xoxo.

  2. This is the absolute best advice for our post pandemic life ! I agree on all points. My fitness needs improvement and I have 30 pounds I must lose ( from chronic pain inability to move issues & quarantine).but I refuse to let it drive my choices of wellness, rest, and healthy eating as a priority. I love your suggestion of buying what fits and that is what I recently did . What a difference! I don’t follow crazy diet plans I plan on losing 1 to 2 pounds a week the healthy way and not obsessing over it. We all needed to learn to slow down and focus within and on our families and I plan on continuing this focus on me 1st, my inner life, home life , wellness and my family. I will be saying no when it feels necessary and stay away from the pre covid anxiety of the rat race other people are returning to. One new habit I love is a new rule I have of no driving 3 days a week often over weekends. It’s great for relaxing and less stress. Have a blessed day. Great post!

    1. Hi Laura, thank you so much for reading and for sharing your thoughts and plans too. I love that you have made some decisions for how you want your life to look and you’re ready to put those changes into place. Before lockdown, there was NEVER a day when I didn’t go anywhere in the car, but I’ve had a lot of that in the last year — such a good choice for the environment, if you can swing it. Good luck to you with staying healthy, both mentally and physically (and emotionally too). I appreciate you! Here’s to better times ahead!

  3. Oh this resonated!! I am in the worst shape of my life, with gyms closed (they only reopened this week ) and I just couldn’t get in a routine with home workouts at all, my only exercise has been dog walks. I’ve booked a couple of classes and just need to get over the fear and get back in there!

    Work is a huge anxiety for me, I’ve loved working from home for over a year and do not want to go back to being chained to a desk 40 hours a week… currently having discussions about the best way to propose a more flexible working structure going forward..

    Great post!

    1. Hi Iona! I know you are NOT the only one trying to find a flexible option for your work moving forward. I haven’t been in the corporate world for a long time, but I recommend finding some metrics on your performance over the last year and explain how you can keep this up, with a combination schedule of home and office. There are SOO many big studies and reports out there now of companies allowing more flexibility, so it seems like your employer would have to agree to at least one or two days from home. Good luck! Also, with your fitness, it seems SO scary to go back to the gym or classes, but once you arrive, it’s like you never left. hehehe! Just start slowly … 🙂 xoxoox

      1. Thanks Ashley! You’re totally right and that’s what I’ve been doing – we’ve been doing our roles more than successfully at home so why change it just because we can… at least some flexibility would be good. The thought of going back to a super strict schedule freaks me out.

        You are so right and I will remember that on Friday for my gym! slot! Eek!!
        Have a great week xx

    1. Hi Katie! Thanks for reading the post. I wish you the best of luck making choices post-pandemic. The romper I’m wearing in these pics is from Calia, and it’s sold out, but this one is SUPER similar: https://bit.ly/3okoJjb — love a good romper! Have a nice weekend!

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