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Are You Ready For Re-entry? Consider This First…

The days are getting longer, COVID vaccines are rolling out faster, and there’s a tangible sense of excitement and relief in the air after a long and difficult winter.

Here at Groundwork, we suffered our worst revenue drop in recent history over the winter. But in the past few days, I find my worries have shifted to how we will handle the sudden onslaught of new business. After hibernating in survival mode, it’s time for all of us to dust off rusty skills and systems. Are we ready for it?

I’ve taken some time to reflect on how I’d like to approach the next few months, both personally and within my role at Groundwork. I’m sharing some of my thoughts below, in the hopes that it will encourage you to set some of your own intentions for the big “re-entry.”

Set aside space for grief.

In his wonderful book “The Wild Edge of Sorrow,” Francis Weller talks about how we’re expected to move on from difficult events without time to grieve. Weller argues that we carry this unprocessed grief as a heavy burden that can make us feel depressed and isolated.

“When we are forced to carry our sorrow in isolation, or when the time needed to fully metabolize the nutrients of a particular loss is denied, and we are pressured to return to “normal” too soon. We are told to “get on with it” and “get over it.”… We must restore the healing around grief. We must find the courage, once again, to walk its wild edge.”

Francis Weller

In the past year, we’ve all experienced something worthy of grieving. It may be a specific instance, like the loss of a loved one or the loss of your life’s work. It may be a collective grief, for the loss of communal gatherings, or for the loss of simply being seen. Whatever you have felt during this extraordinary time, make sure to slow down enough to process your feelings before moving forward.

Note: If you’re not sure how to “slow down,” one of our members here at Groundwork leads mindfulness trainings. Check out D+S Trainings here.

Reflect on what you’ve learned.

It’s a well-known technique in education, therapy, and even corporate onboarding: reflecting on what you’ve learned can help you to integrate a learning into your daily behavior.

So it’s probably a good idea to set aside time to fully appreciate all that you’ve learned in the past year. Journaling is a great way to do this, but if journaling isn’t your thing, you could try recording a voice memo. Even better– schedule time for a reflection conversation with your closest friends or family.

Some prompts to get you started: What do you really need to be happy? Who do you miss spending time with the most? Who/What has provided you with the most comfort during the past year? What did you let go of that you don’t need to bring back into your life?

Give yourself permission to move slowly.

Despite seeing the “light at the end of the COVID tunnel,” I’m feeling more exhausted right now than I did at the height of the pandemic. I found a lot of solace in a recent episode of the On Being podcast, in which clinical psychologist Christine Runyan breaks down what’s happening in our nervous system after a year of stress and isolation. I highly recommend you give the episode a listen. She explains that exhaustion, lack of productivity, and even moments of despair are our body’s normal response.

Rather than try to fix our body’s natural stress response, we can allow ourselves to move slowly. Christine also provides some practical tactics to help us feel safe and grounded.

Be kind to each other.

Finally, let’s remember to be kind to each other in these next few months. We’re in for some awkward moments as we adjust to increased social interactions. I’m not sure how it will all play out, but if I had to guess, I’d say that having patience and compassion for ourselves and others will play a big role.

So take care of yourselves, be kind, and we’ll be here for you at Groundwork when you’re ready to come out. We’re taking extra care to provide an environment that is both physically and emotionally safe for our members. As always we are in this together, and our community is here for you.

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