Swords, Pandemics, and Return to Normalcy

In Greek mythology, there is a tale about a King named Dionysius. He was a King who ruled with great authority. As a result, he had many enemies and feared for his life. A member of his court, Damocles, was constantly phrasing the King. He would exclaim how wonderful a life the King must lead. The King was annoyed by these praises and offered Damocles a chance to live his life as King. Damocles agreed. He enjoyed all the good fortunes as a King. However, the King had also hung a sword over Damocles head suspended by only a single strand of horsehair. The dangling sword was to remind him of the constant dangers of being a King. Damocles found it too hard to enjoy ruling due to the constant threat faced by the sword and returned to a less stressful way of life. The term” Sword of Damocles “refers to a feeling of looming danger.

 In the last two years, the world has become a different place. The Pandemic has changed the way we think and behave. The direct impact of the virus itself can see. However, other consequences in measuring the impact Covid-19 has had on us have to be looked considered. Lockdowns, quarantines, fear of the virus, and avoidance of social interactions are just a few examples. For children in lockdowns, they had to deal with isolation, poor diet, bad sleep habits, disruption in routines, and fewer social activities. For adults, social isolation, poor diet, lack of exercise, loneliness, irregular schedules, boredom, increase of drinking/drug use, and stress. Situations we previously took for granted are now better appreciated. All ages have been affected by the direct and indirect consequences of the Pandemic. 

 However, there is another side to consider. We got used to a slower, less hectic lifestyle. Some enjoyed more family time. Less commuting to work (no traffic). Students who were schooling from home found it was convenient. It also meant that they did not have to face the anxiety and challenges of being around peers. As pleasant as returning to a pre-pandemic time, we are going to have to make adjustments. Children will have to navigate the nuances of peer relations. Reintegrate into a structured day may not be easy. For working adults, adding a few hours to your workday, more structure, and returning to the demands of in-person work can present themselves as challenges.

Here are some suggestions that can help with the return to the prepandemic lifestyle. Helpful suggestions:

  • Reestablish routines. Trying to achieve consistency and predictability in your life will be helpful. 
  • Focus on social engagement. Both adults and youth would benefit from this.
  • Be patient. Most of us have been out of synch for the last 1 1/2 years. During this time, children have missed out on mastering their social skills. It will take time and practice to catch up to these skills. 
  • For school-age children, parents should closely monitor grades. Maintain communication with teachers. Communicating with school personnel is especially is important if your child has expressed discomfort in their return to school. Notify school social workers if you believe your child needs additional support.
  • Maintain healthy lifestyles. Our diets were affected during the Pandemic. More time at home meant more opportunities to eat. Focus on getting into better and more consistent eating patterns. 
  • Nationwide, there has been an increase in consumption in drinking/recreational drug use. Evaluate your use usage to see if you have developed unhealthy patterns of substance/alcohol usage. 
  • Take careful deliberations in making changes in your life. It is healthy to question and consider your future now that we experienced lockdowns and quarantines. We are looking at life differently now. Our family time and the drive to work are taken into consideration more now. Weigh out your options before jumping into a new job or career. Plan your next move rather than just jumping into something new. For children, staying at home may seem tempting. However, consider the social aspects and the implications homeschool will mean. That does not mean homeschooling is not a good choice. Just make sure you are taking the pluses and minus into account. 
  • Consider seeking professional help. A therapist will not only offer additional support but helpful feedback. 

The world hopefully is on the other side of the need for lockdowns. It is helpful to be mindful of the additional consequences and challenges we face now. Identifying potential obstacles and planning strategies to overcome them will continue to be important.