After so many months of remote everything, when offered the opportunity to return to in-person work, volunteering and cultural events, my immediate response was no thanks. I didn’t analyze it. I’d already made adjustments, doing activities from home with a new virtual routine so the thought of returning in-person was unappealing. Why pivot all over again? I automatically continued sequestering myself even when options included being with others masked and distanced.
My oldest friend recognized this behavior. She said she’d personally experienced what I described and observed it among friends and colleagues. She identified and labeled it covid inertia. I think she’s right.
I didn’t realize I’d grown inflexible. I found myself stuck in routines I never wanted but never-the-less adjusted to. Recognizing this is helpful. I didn’t see I was holding myself captive.
Recognizing that I’d become way too sequestered, I began by exploring activities that felt safe and comfortable. First up, I started selectively attending art and music shows. Next, I added part-time in-person return to volunteering. These both have masking options that for me, feels like a helpful transitional tool. Admittedly, switching back is all odd. The first concert I attended felt so surreal that I started crying when the orchestra came on stage. So many humans! And so many humans playing music! I didn’t realize how much I’d missed it. I’ve lost social skills and find that although making conversation was never an issue for me, now I sometimes struggle to find something to say. Guess it’s part of the re-adjustment.
At least, with this helpful insight, I’m looking for opportunities to diminish covid inertia. Returning to some routines that were once taken for granted is more of a challenge than I imagined. I’m happy for these small steps, hoping they continue to lead forward and not back.