Post-pandemic world raises lifestyle questions
April 15, 2021
After over a year of masks, social distancing, and living in a mainly online world, we are starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel. With vaccines becoming increasingly available to all age groups, some more relaxed guidelines are being put into place. People are anxious to get back to some kind of “normal” without knowing what normal means at this point? After months of not having to get ready to go out, how do we all adjust and “re-enter” the world?
Sweatpants have become the norm for zoom meetings and online shopping but as many people head back to the office and college students back to campus, there is this struggle of figuring out how to dress for the occasion. Having to put outfits together and pack a lunch the night before seems so far in the past, but will be back before we know it.
While we struggle to find a pair of work pants after months and months, the new societal struggle will be the lack of masks. Although the pandemic isn’t over yet, and the CDC encourages those who have been vaccinated to not get ahead of themselves and still wear masks, someday they will be a thing of the past. When that day comes we will all struggle with holding back our funny faces and mumbling phrases without the protection of the mask.
Masks not being encouraged anymore will be the first of many strange factors of social interactions we will have to endure in public. Figuring out when it is socially acceptable to shake someone's hand again instead of awkwardly asking for an elbow bump, may take some getting used to as well.
Think back to when you have had a cold and your nose is plugged up for a few days, it feels easy to forget what it was like before to ever have a clear nose. I think of this pandemic in a similar way in the sense that it is hard to remember what before even was. At this point, new routines and habits have already been established and a new “normal” has come into play. However, there will be a big sigh of relief when we don’t have to worry about accidentally coming into contact with a positive COVID-19 case ever again.
This concept of a new “normal” is also being brought up in a variety of companies across the country who have realized the benefits of having remote workers and not paying for one large office space. Many of those who have been anxiously awaiting the return to the office, may have to start decorating their home work space a little bit more.
The same concept for college students apply as they develop new habits that align perfectly with the online school format. Having to wake up early to get ready for class and step out into the world will be a difficult adjustment for those students who have been rolling out of bed one minute before class begins.
Regardless of how many strange little things that we will notice once we can all relax a little bit, we need to recognize that we can never go back to the “normal” we had before. This pandemic has opened up so many doors to important conversations that we cannot stop having. The conversation surrounding topics such as mental health and social justice are just a few examples of things that should remain on the table.
Isabella Forliti is a communication studies student at UW-River Falls and editor of the Student Voice during spring semester 2022.