I feel like I blinked and suddenly my life became busy again.
For so long my list of things to juggle, on paper, was much smaller. No big social plans, no commute, no irritation on public transit. I just had to work, handle only my closest relationships, and keep myself alive. Of course, my emotional and mental health became much larger things to bear, yet my surplus of free time was actually a blessing in disguise. I could dedicate time to my self-growth in a way I never had before. I dove deep into my trouble with boundary setting. I learned what reparenting is. I talked to my inner-child, a lot.
I feel more in tune with myself and my needs than I ever have before. However, implementing my newly learned lessons is proving to be more challenging than I thought. Was I so unhappy before because my social life stopped me from connecting with myself?
I’m drinking more now than I have in a very long time. I’m exercising less, prioritizing seeing friends over moving my body. How can I build my career now, in this incredibly chaotic and new professional world, while also holding on to everything I’ve learned I need?
I’m really stressed over socializing so much again. Spending time with the people I love irl, while also reconnecting with acquaintances (and *gasp* new friends) alike has been incredibly soul-nourishing. But I’m back to sitting at the bar, silently feeling bad about myself while my friends talk about their new boyfriends and jobs and homes. I’m changing my clothes five times before leaving the house because I’m so worried about how others will perceive my aesthetic. I’m spending money in a way I haven’t in ages, suddenly feeling that tightness in my chest when I tap my debit card at the end of the month.
I’m thrilled that things are “back to normal.” Navigating the anxiety that is coming along with it, though, is decidedly less thrilling.
Here’s how I’m coping:
I’m using embodiment practices to better identify how I’m feeling.
l’m making sure to mindfully move every single day, even if it’s only five minutes of me wiggling and deep breathing on my yoga mat.
I’m putting my boundary-setting measures to work and leaving social gatherings when I feel like my energy is spent.
I’m practicing regulating my emotions–there are so many more sensors and triggers around me, so I’m remembering that I may need more breaks than I think I do.
I’m sleeping plenty, drinking my water, and avoiding foods that cause me discomfort.
Feeling anxiety around socializing again is normal, and feeling guilt around those feelings is unnecessary. The past two years have been the opposite of normal, and we can’t expect all our former coping strategies to have the same efficacy they did previously. Times evolve, and so do we. We just need to implement the tools to navigate all the changes, and chances are, you already have the tools within you.