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The experience of the COVID-19 pandemic was weird and surreal, there is no other way to explain it. Life as we knew it changed over the span of a few days. We spent 3 months socially isolating ourselves from friends and loved ones, some lost employment and for some privileged others remote work was offered as an alternative.

Needless to say, this situation forced us to spend time with ourselves. Some individuals were forced to look at themselves during online meetings or sessions, experienced more time to think about themselves, explored the possibilities of new interests, reached out more to others, appreciated family life much more than before the pandemic started. Some also became hypervigilant of others hygiene, distanced themselves from family members or friends, experienced difficult situations due to loss of employment or changes in lifestyle.

The essence of this is that we all experienced an adaptation whether it was positive, negative, self-imposed or forced due to the contingencies which the pandemic brought with it. This change whether welcomed or not, left an impact on us on some level, perhaps even changed the way we perceive certain things or activities. This new perception or behaviour may remain or it may not, as we return to what is being dubbed ‘the new normal’. When routines resume and we interact with others more freely with less restrictions, it is likely that we may go back to our old ways. This is due to the fact that habits occur across a span of time, it is difficult to retain new habits long term unless they are maintained across a long span of time.

If any of these adaptations to the COVID pandemic have left a positive impact on you, and you seem to be worried about being perceived differently by those close to you, it’s okay. As social beings we are naturally inclined to follow the group’s perception about certain things. However, within us we also experience a need to be as authentic to ourselves as we can. Try asking yourself the following questions:

  • What did I enjoy doing for myself?

What specifically did you enjoy doing for yourself which you did not do prior to the pandemic?

  • Time

How much time does it require for you to do this particular activity on a weekly basis?

  • What need did it satisfy?

We have a multitude of different needs as human-beings, we engage in particular activities or meet up with specific people to satisfy certain needs which we have.

  • How did it make you feel?

What feelings emerged as you engaged in a particular activity or started to perceive things differently during the pandemic?

  • How would life be without it?

If you had to lose any of these changes would you gain or lose something important to you?

  • What value did it add to my life?

Did these changes add value to your life in which it made you experience your life more pleasant?

  • Boundaries?

What boundaries need to be put in place in order to retain these changes?

  • How will other people perceive this?

If the changes are in your opinion positive for both your physical and mental well-being, does it matter what people think?

Karl Grech is a counsellor. He offers counselling to both individuals and couples within Willingness. He can be contacted on karl@willingness.com.mt or call us on 79291817.