Own Your Post-COVID Re-Entry

If you don’t have a plan, you will become part of someone else’s plan.

Terrence McKenna

I went to South Carolina last week for my first vacation in well over a year. In addition to learning how great a change of venue felt, I learned that the world is opening up – fast! There were three hour waits for restaurants. The beaches and streets were crowded. I was struck by how eager people were to get back to “normal” and how quickly it is happening. The speed of the change gave me pause, and it’s not just because I don’t like crowds. 

As freeing as it is to be vaccinated, I admit, I feel some anxiety at the notion of “going back to normal.” If you are feeling some anxiety about this too, it turns out we are not alone. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), nearly 50% of Americans are anxious about the post-pandemic world. The APA has even coined a term for this specific feeling – “re-entry anxiety”.

As we collectively emerge from the pandemic isolation, there will be pressure to resume old routines: waking early, getting ready (including all that entails), taking care of home and/or childcare responsibilities, commuting, working late, coming home, more home/caretaking responsibilities, likely more work, sleeping (not enough) and then doing it all over again. What about all the work travel you used to do? What about all the work-related non-billable and extracurricular activities, not to mention re-emerging social obligations? Will we be expected to be available both in person AND virtually at any time, all the time? 

Is this what you want your post-COVID life to look like? If not, now is the time to take stock of what you learned during the pandemic about yourself, your family, and your work. Assess what you want to carry forward into the post-pandemic world, and what you want to let go of. Use this information to create a personal re-entry plan. If you don’t create a plan, you may find yourself struggling with eroded boundaries and even more exhaustion.

To help you begin to create your personal re-entry plan, we pose the following questions inspired by Scott Eblin’s recent blog

What was eliminated during the pandemic that I miss and want back? How much of it do I want back?

What was eliminated during the pandemic that I don’t miss and can do without?

What have I started doing during the pandemic that is beneficial? How much of that do I want to continue doing?

What have I been doing during the pandemic that is not sustainable?

What have I stopped doing during the pandemic that has improved my quality of life and work?

How / when should I continue to capture the value of virtual meetings without the added overhead of travel? How much do I want to travel?

What makes me happy and feel like I’m really living and leading at my best?

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