It’s another transition – we’ve done this before!

Many people are eagerly anticipating the move to Level 2. Some are worried and fearful. Others don’t want to leave the security of their bubble and resent going back into the world. Some people are feeling all of these emotions – sometimes at the same time. Here are some tips to help navigate this time.

  1. Transitions don’t last. They are periods of change – where most people feel a bit unsettled or unsure. Moving to level 2 is a transition. Remember the start of Level 4- it was exhausting, an emotional rollercoaster, a freight train of tiredness. AND you adjusted, got used to it, and it gradually got easier. You’ve done this before. Remember what helped before and use these strategies again.
  2. Emotions are information. What are yours telling you? If you’re not sure, find a way to let things come to the surface – write your thoughts on a page, go for a walk, talk to a friend – do whatever works for you to help notice what’s going on for you. This can help clarify – are you worried about illness or busyness, excited about seeing people, concerned about managing work? You can’t deal with an issue until you know what it is.
  3. Notice the good things and what you can do to make them happen. Worrying about the future usually means focusing on what might be hard. Notice what might be good too. What bits can you look forward to? What bits can you influence to make them enjoyable?
  4. Acknowledge how people are doing. We have just lived through a major upheaval. Have a work or whānau conversation about the past 7 weeks. Listen to each other and learn what support people will need. Ask questions like:
    How has it been for you? What’s been good? What do you want to keep from Alert Level 3-4?
    How are you feeling right now? What are your hopes and concerns? What support do you need to re-engage comfortably with work/school?
  5. Lower your expectations and keep on being kind. We’ve all weathered the same storm, but we have been in very different boats. Some people won’t be able to unpack what’s happened until it feels over and safe. How long that take will vary for different people – many of whom now face very changed day to day lives. There are also those who have had traumatic experiences in this period – bereavement, family violence, job loss, severe financial loss, job worries – those people will be processing and dealing with these experiences over the coming months. They may not be able to be on their best behaviour or perform well.

We are all adjusting back to this ‘new normal’. We will move through transition more easily if we can lower the bar and be kind to ourselves and others. One of our colleagues has the words ‘gradual’ and ‘gentle’ on their whiteboard as a reminder of their goal for this period. What a great goal!