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  • Writer's pictureLeslie J. Sherrod, MSW, LCSW-C

The Great Return

Updated: Sep 22, 2021



Throughout the pandemic, we often hear people talk about “returning to normal.” While “normal” can mean many things – working inside an office building, eating out at a restaurant, spending uninhibited time with family and friends – consider what “normal” means to you. Specifically, let’s look a little deeper at the “standard operating procedures” of your life to which you seek to return. Here are three questions to consider:


1. What is your baseline outlook on life?


Do you tend to automatically assume the worse will happen? A perpetual negative perspective will result in a constant state of fear and worry. Aim to weave a permanent thread of hope in your mind to hold your thoughts and emotions together. That doesn’t mean living in denial or a false reality. You can know challenges will come – but you can also believe you can overcome them. Anxiety tends to originate when we question if we have the resources to meet an unknown. Name your greatest fears and then take inventory of the resources you have to face them in the rare event they occur. Consider your strengths, your supports, and your capacity to have survived past trials. Look at the good things that have happened in your life. Those good events and good people and good places serve as evidence good can happen. Hope and awareness of your durability can be your default state.


2. Is your peace of mind dependent solely on what happens outside of you?


If your capacity to experience joy and peace is centered only on external circumstances beyond your control, consider re-anchoring your center. This may mean examining your personal beliefs about the meaning of trials and challenges. Yes, acknowledge your feelings. Then, decide how you will rise from the ashes with your sense of purpose and peace intact. Finding meaning is possible and is an internal process regardless of the external storm.


3. How do you define resilience?


While I have suggested refining perspective and re-centering peace as actions to take on the road to resilience, reflect on your own values, life lessons, and the strategies that have helped you successfully weather challenges in the past. Write out, draw, sing, dance, or do whatever you need to make known your own definition of resilience. Then hold yourself accountable to the meaning you’ve determined.


As you consider what “returning to normal” means to you,

be intentional in what it means in you.

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