“I sometimes wonder if I’ve wasted this gift of time,” said Ms. Scott, who organizes the Oregon Truffle Festival. “I have all this fear that we will just go back to what people think is normal. When we get out of our cocoons, am I getting out of something and moving towards something new? Or am I just stuck? “
While some people developed healthy new habits during the pandemic lockdown, if you’ve spent your pandemic days just getting through it, it’s not too late. The good news is that the end of the pandemic is likely a more propitious time for significant change than if you had the heightened fear of lockdowns.
“Covid-19 has been a terrible time for many of us,” said Laurie Santos, a psychology professor at Yale who teaches a popular online course called The Science of Well-Being. “There is a lot of evidence of what is known as post-traumatic growth – that we can come out stronger and with a little more meaning in our lives after negative events. I think we can all use this terrible time of the pandemic to achieve post-traumatic growth in our own lives. “
So what’s your next chapter?
One of the biggest barriers to change has always been the fact that we tend to establish routines that are difficult to break. But the pandemic has destroyed many people’s routines and prepared us for a reset, said Dr. Santos.
“We’ve all changed our routines so much,” she said. “I think many of us realized during the pandemic that some of the things we did before Covid-19 weren’t the kind of things that made our lives flourish. I think many of us have realized that if we are to be happier, aspects of our work and family life, and even our relationships, may have to change. “
One reason new beginnings can be so effective is because people think about the passage of time in chapters or episodes rather than a continuum, said Dr. Milkman. As a result, we tend to look at the past in terms of unique periods, such as: For example, our high school years, college years, years we lived in a particular city or worked in a particular job. In the future, we will likely look back on the pandemic year as a similarly unique chapter in our lives.
“We have chapter breaks like life is a novel – that’s how we mark the time,” said Dr. Milkman. “This has an impact on the psychology of the new beginning, because these moments, which open a new chapter, give us the feeling of a new beginning. It is easier to attribute mistakes to the “old me”. You feel that you can do more now because we are in a new chapter. “