3 Stages of post-pandemic emergence

In April 2020, as the pandemic took grip on the world, I created a diagram (here) to illustrate the different stages of thoughts, feelings and actions through which people were moving back and forth.

More than a year later many, many lives have been lost and changed in ways we couldn't imagine beforehand. No-one has been untouched by the pandemic in some way.

As time goes on how we’re dealing with the pandemic has shifted so while the previous diagram is still relevant I wanted to update it to reflect how people are thinking and feeling as lockdown restrictions change and the world starts to move forward again.

As before, this is not a linear process. We can move back and forth through the stages, straddle a couple of them, hop from one to another and back again in the space of a day, an hour even, depending on what’s happening and how we’re feeling.

However you're feeling and whichever stage you’re in is not wrong. This is simply a tool to help you identify how you’re feeling and with this information look to what could help you.

3 stages of postpandemic emergence

So let’s look at the three stages.

As before the first stage is labelled Survival. The changes in restrictions feel challenging to navigate, life still feels very uncertain and not in your control. You're grieving for what has been lost and coming to terms to how life has changed.

You feel under pressure to throw yourself back into society, to get back to normal but you’re not sure what normal is any more or if you're ready for it. You’re worried about the possibility of future lockdowns, life feels like it’s moving too fast and other people’s behaviour makes you anxious.

Acceptance is the next stage. You’re feeling more equipped to deal with change and uncertainty because of the pandemic. You’re getting clearer on your boundaries – what is and is not okay with you – and you’re trying to be kinder to yourself when things feel difficult, overwhelming or when you respond differently to others.

As you consider your future you’re realising there are elements of your life before the pandemic that you don’t think you want to bring with you going forward. This time has helped you to notice the little things that make you happy and you’re focusing on them more.

And then there’s the Growth stage. You’re feeling more in control of your life as you’re speaking up for what you do and don’t want and worrying less about what other people are doing. This time has brought you closer to who and what is important to you and you’re appreciating what you value most. You’re letting go of what didn’t serve you pre-pandemic and you’re taking steps to live life in a way that feels better for you.

While you know that there is still so much that’s uncertain and could change, you’re feeling hope for your future.

You can see the three stages illustrated more clearly in this diagram:

postpandemic emergence diagram gabrielle treanor

(If you share the diagram (and you're welcome to) please be sure to cite gabrielletreanor.com and link back to this page, thank you.)

Can you recognise which stage you're in today?

To reiterate, you're going to move around the stages, in and out of them, back and forth, depending on many factors. You and the situation are evolving, as life always is with or without a global pandemic, no-one remains static.

As I said with the previous diagram, spending time in one stage more than another isn't a reflection on who you are or your ability to deal with what's happening. There are many contributing factors that play a part. The diagram is simply an aid to help you to understand what's going on in your head and heart. And, with that knowledge, look at what will help you.

So in the Survival stage it could look like focusing on what’s happening in the present moment or talking through your fears with someone you trust.

In Acceptance it could mean not comparing yourself to others and acknowledging your strength and resilience.

And if you're spending (or wanting to spend) more time in the Growth stage it could look like getting clear on the direction you want your life to go in and what will help you to make it a reality.

For some this extraordinary time has given them space to notice what they didn’t like about how they’ve been living their life, what wasn’t working and what they don’t want to go back to or keep doing. They’re seeing an opportunity to break old habits, ditch unhelpful ways or stories that have been holding them back from living in a way that really feels right for them.

Empowering women to make changes (big and small), to strengthen their confidence and trust in themselves, to live their lives the way they truly want to (rather than how they think they're supposed to) is the essence of my work.

If you want to explore making changes and creating the fulfilling, peaceful, joyous life you want through one-to-one coaching, send me a message or find out more about coaching with me here.

And if you're an organisation looking for support for your staff take a look here for how I can help you and your teams.

Please note: If you share this diagram (and you're welcome to) please be sure to cite gabrielletreanor.com and link back to this page, thank you.

gabrielle april 2021
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