It’s been two years that we’ve been going through this pandemic together. Two years ago what was supposed to be two weeks has now been extended into what felt like an eternity. We’ve socially distanced, locked down, masked up, increased hand sanitizer usage, etc… All of these actions, while deemed important, have created havoc within our health. As a result we’ve been more sedentary, we’ve had less physical affection from loved ones, we’ve decimated the microbiome on our skin and gut in the attempt to kill viruses. Thankfully, it seems we’ve reached a point that we can now look at this virus and say it’s safe to reopen. Covid is never going to go away and will eventually be looked at as just another virus that circulates the globe similar to the regular cold and flu viruses. Now is the time to refocus our energy on rebuilding our mental and physical health. With mandates lifting I’ve had several patients confide in me that they are scared to get back to life as normal. I can understand and appreciate the fear mindset that we’ve been placed into and while I think it’s fair to say that we can all take our own precautions we also need to all start doing more to get back to some sort of normalcy in our lives.

Here’s a few tips and suggestions on how to reintegrate yourself into regular life again:

1. Go walk at the dog park. Even if you don’t have a dog the walk in an open area is great for the mind and body. This is a wide open public area and you can feel safe to take your mask off and see the other smiling faces. Seeing a smiling face will immediately raise your endorphin/serotonin levels and make you feel better about your day.

2. Go to the public pool. Generally speaking the pools are not overly packed and you can get some exercise while swimming. This is a great way to reintroduce yourself to small crowds indoors while getting some exercise.

3. Go to the gym. It’s unfortunate that gyms got a bad rap during the pandemic. They are literally one of the cleanest places you can be and everyone naturally social distances. Get your sweat on and see some smiling faces while you workout. Win/win

4. Get your groceries without wearing a mask. I’ll admit, this one will feel weird at first, but as soon as the mask mandate is gone I highly recommend that you give it a try. Once again, everyone is usually separated by a shopping cart distance to begin with.

5. When you get bold and brave enough try going to a sporting event or a live theatre event. Winnipeg has so many great options for entertainment. Get into a venue and enjoy the energy of the crowd and the entertainment of the performers.

6. Host a family gathering. Get all of your loved ones together for a big family celebration dinner. No reason other than a get together is needed. Save the dishes and cater the event.

These recommendations will allow you to slowly start to feel comfortable living life again. Take them slowly, use whatever precautions you deem necessary, do some of them or do all of them. However you choose to approach this is totally up to you and your comfort levels.

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