Navigating the new normal during the COVID-19 pandemic

Local News

Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – A new American psychological association study shows nearly half of Americans feel uneasy thinking about in-person interaction post-pandemic. As Brittney Ermon reports, getting back in the swing of normalcy won’t happen overnight.

Turning back time.

Andrea Dunmore said, “So this picture was right at the very beginning of the pandemic. We put painter’s tape up and we use dry erase markers and we just played tic tac toe on the glass.”

Andrea Dunmore and her grandkids are breaking old habits and navigating a new normal.

It was disbelief. In a way it was like, is this really happening,” said Dunmore.

A way of life, Dunmore’s family didn’t see coming.

Dunmore’s daughter said, “Super challenging, and it was like how are we going to do this.”
The COVID-19 vaccine rollout replaced sadness with a little hope. Dunmore and her daughter got the shot, giving them the green light to loosen restrictions around family starting with a hug.

“Oh my gosh, it was wonderful. I’m not sure which one I squeeze harder my daughter or the grandchildren,” said Dunmore.

Dunmore says they’re trying to avoid doing too much, too soon.

“I don’t know when that point will come where I’m going to say, okay, you know let’s have the kids over for dinner and we’re just going to sit down and have a meal. Could take me a month or 6 months,” said Dunmore.

Dr. Shilagh Mirgain said, “As life opens up and grandparents can see grandkids and we’re going back into the workplace, kids are going back into the schools. We’re having to make day-to-day decisions around our behavior and what we can deem to be safe.”

Dr. Shilagh Mirgain is a Clinical Psychologist at UW-Health. She says after a year of hidden smiles,
muffled conversations and keeping distance, returning to normal post-pandemic will take some time.

“We can anticipate having some uncertainty and social anxiety and feeling like we’re lacking social skills as we go into those normal interactions that we had before the pandemic and we might notice a fear response that is just anxiety,” said Mirgain.

Keeping CDC guidelines in mind, she says people should move at their own pace in the race back to normal.

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