Slowly and miraculously, the world is reopening, and while the excitement of summer settles in, keep in mind that there’s still a different kind of reopening that you should be aware of – the reopening of yourself to the world around you.
As everyone around you is getting ready to “get back on their feet” this summer, it can be easy to forget how much adjusting we’ve done individually over the past fifteen months. We’ve adjusted to staying indoors for long periods of time. We adjusted to social isolation. We adjusted to a virtual world, one amplified by the use of social media, and all of that required an adjustment of ourselves.
Now that people are ready to be outside again, here are a few reminders of things we should adjust – let go of and unlearn, prioritize and hold tight – before opening ourselves back up to the world again this summer.
Unlearn saying “yes” to things you don’t want.
When you were at home, away from other people, it was easy to make up excuses to avoid social settings and responsibilities. Now, when you’re presented with something you don’t want to participate in, have courage in yourself to say no. No more excuses about staying home or COVID-19. You have the strength to say no without making up a lie. You’re allowed to keep the personal space you’ve built for yourself over the past year as personal as you want.
Unlearn ignoring your own boundaries for the sake of others.
Similar to the last reminder, stop ignoring your boundaries. Now that the government isn’t going to set a six-feet-apart law for us, it’s time to set one for ourselves. Whether that means six-feet apart from your relationship status, from your emotional availability, or from your actual, physical space, being in isolation has taught you the value of being alone with yourself. Now is not the time to compromise that just to spare other people’s feelings. You’re allowed to set your own boundaries with the world, open or not.
Unlearn hiding your feelings instead of processing them or asking for support.
While getting comfortable with being alone can bring about positive self-growth, it can still be an isolating and lonely experience. This is why it’s important to unlearn keeping things to yourself. You can still set boundaries, but recognize where to open up – especially when it comes to struggling with your emotions or mental health. It’s time to unlearn ignoring and distracting ourselves from feeling. It’s okay to share how you feel and ask for support.
Unlearn beauty standards.
Summer can be a tempting time to lower your self-worth, but despite however many posts you see about Hot Girl Summer, it’s a myth. Our time online has increased drastically over the last year, but keep in mind you have the agency to step away from it. Remember that not everything posted is genuine. Be hot and beautiful by your own standards – not society’s westernized ones. Own your body, your achievements, and your confidence for you this summer, and not for anyone else.
Unlearn comparing your accomplishments to others’ before you’ve celebrated yourself.
One of the kindest things you can do for yourself is to celebrate your small victories. If you found it difficult to get out of bed this morning, but you still did, that’s a huge deal. Don’t let your friend’s post about their most recent job promotion derail you from celebrating even your smallest successes. Let yourself be proud of yourself, even if only for a minute. There is no ounce of accomplishment to small worth celebrating. It’s been a fifteen months. Let’s unlearn being so hard on ourselves too.