In May, we honored Mental Health Month with a whole new perspective considering the pandemic-related events over the past year. As we continue rolling into June, the topics of wellness and self-compassion have remained heavily on my mind. There is so much joy and excitement right now, with businesses back in full swing, events on the calendar, and the reduction of many longstanding health orders.
While I share in the excitement, I have been confided in by many individuals who are feeling a lot of understandable anxiety and uncertainty with these changes. For example, many elderly or immune-compromised individuals may be facing adjustments after more than a year spent mostly within their homes. The idea of all health measures being reduced on top of social anxiety from long-term isolation is causing the perfect storm for a wide range of mental health concerns.
So, what can we do to help practice not only self-compassion, but compassion for others who may not be in the same comfort level as us?
Set Your Boundaries
I have said this throughout the pandemic, and I will continue to say it when someday the threat of the virus is a distant memory: feel empowered to set your own boundaries. No two comfort levels are completely alike, and that is okay. I recently went back to a public gym for the first time since Covid-19 and it was AMAZING! I have been fully vaccinated, and I felt safe. However, my boundaries include continuing to practice frequent hand hygiene, and extra cleaning and disinfecting throughout my time at the gym.
Know your boundaries, and continue to communicate them with friends and family, and practice them in public settings. Resuming this practice and continuing open conversations will make it easier on everyone to understand each other’s comfort levels and honor them as we all continue to adjust to new changes.
Keep up the good work
If there is one good thing that came from the pandemic, it’s the huge awakening surrounding the importance of good hygiene measures to reduce the spread of germs. We’ve been rockstars at hand hygiene, wearing masks, especially if feeling sick, disinfecting high-touch surfaces, and using good air flow or outdoor gatherings whenever possible. Don’t stop the great work! All of these personal prevention measures worked wonders in reducing the spread of Covid-19, and can continue to help us prevent future threats and navigate cold and flu season.
If you’re heading to an amusement park, public pool or airport this summer, use paper towels to turn faucets, handles or doorknobs. Pack that hand sanitizer and don’t forget those disinfecting wipes! And always, avoid touching your face and wash your hands before you eat. Companies may be cutting back on added sanitation measures, so now is the time to take personal responsibility for healthy measures when out and about.
Have compassion for yourself and for others
You’re going to see a wide range of personal preferences now that mask mandates are ending and other health orders are subsiding. Have compassion for others who may be approaching the new way of living at a different pace than your personal preference. Ask friends and family about their boundaries before assuming they’re on the same page as you. And, just as you practice compassion for others, have compassion for yourself. We’ve all been through so much, and no matter where you are in your journey back to normal, you’re doing the best you possibly can.
Jill Frey, President & CEO
Cummins Facility Services, LLC