(NEW YORK) — After spending time apart social distancing, and witnessing the devastation caused by the coronavirus crisis, many may also just miss simple social interactions.
Whether it’s going for a cup of coffee, taking a stroll and sparking up conversations with a friendly dog owner or enjoying a meal with friends, even mundane moments of once daily routines feel like a luxury people are already eager to have back.
Keeping a safe distance has been an imperative for public safety during COVID-19, but it’s OK to feel nostalgic for life’s little moments that have temporarily fallen by the wayside.
Dr. Ilyse Dobrow DiMarco, a clinical psychologist and author, told ABC News it’s “absolutely” normal to miss all the things we had going on in our lives.
“We humans thrive on predictability and routine. Even things like taking the same route to work or seeing the same people at our weekly Zumba class provide us with a sense of comfort,” she explained. “We know what to expect, and that helps us feel in control.”
As for why we feel so jolted by the sudden and seismic societal shift, DiMarco said, “anxiety is all about uncertainty and once you start removing certainties from people’s lives — people start to feel unmoored.”
Since the days, weeks and months ahead are still uncertain, DiMarco suggests people make a list and write down all the things they want to do when this is all over.
“I encourage them not to think of a timeline for these things but rather to think of it as a ‘bucket list,’ to be tackled whenever life resumes as usual,” she said, adding that it’s good to plan for “the first restaurant they will eat at and park they will visit once normalcy returns.”
Here’s a snapshot of some of the things people miss from everyday life and look forward to taking full advantage of once again when the pandemic is in the rearview:
Hugging friends and family
Aside from being able to just see family and friends in person, many people really miss the warm embrace that comes with a greeting or goodbye between loved ones.
Whether it’s attending your favorite professional sporting events, playing a pickup game of hoops with friends or watching a live game on TV, people around the country have felt the weight of missing out on what has always been a fun, entertaining pastime.
Baseball fans struck out on Thursday since MLB postponed Opening Day; the NBA season is temporarily suspended; the NCAA March Madness tournament was canceled and the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo have been postponed.
Going out to eat
Many people are missing the experience and excitement around Sunday brunch, a weeknight dinner at an undiscovered restaurant or even strolling into your favorite neighborhood spot for a quick bite.
As everyone resorts to cooking at home or ordering takeout, the idea of sitting down for a meal, prepared by chefs in a professional kitchen sounds like a dream.
Meeting up for coffee or drinks
Baristas and bartenders miss you as much as we miss them.
Grabbing an afternoon coffee with your co-worker or meeting up with friends for happy hour in person has been a widely missed ritual.
While people have gotten creative with virtual happy hours and hangouts, we can all add raising a glass to our health and routines whenever those activities can resume in person.
Fitness classes, the gym and working out
Yoga, pilates, spin, swim, Zumba, boxing, running, weightlifting — you name it — people miss it. With gyms closed in most places, people have had to reinvent their workout routines where they can.
From group fitness classes to running clubs, making it to your mat or cruising through a finish line with a huge crowd after 13.1 miles — working out has also taken a turn.
While some people have jokingly seemed shocked by the notion that they miss working out, many have had an epiphany that the absence of physical activities really does make the heart grow fonder.
Instructors have gotten creative by bringing so many of their workout routines to virtual platforms online, but performing bodyweight moves in a studio apartment doesn’t exactly hit the same levels of intensity as a high-octane, fast-paced HIIT class.
Going to work
In what has felt like an eternal Sunday for some folks, there are millions of previously employed Americans who have lost jobs across a multitude of different industries that have seen a sharp decline in operations due to coronavirus. The service industry was among the hardest hit — particularly foodservice and hospitality.
Restaurant and bar owners, chefs, managers, sommeliers, hostesses, servers and more have banded together to raise funds for their impacted community.
For those fortunate enough to still be employed, many Americans wish they could go into their respective place of work. Be it behind a chef’s counter of a busy kitchen or a desk inside an office building, lots of folks miss the daily social interactions with co-workers and getting their jobs done where the magic is meant to happen.
“Even patients who formerly complained about their desk job now wax sentimental about their cubicles, because at least those cubicles were next to other people’s cubicles,” DiMarco said. “Now, they’re totally by themselves at their desks at home and truly craving the cubicle-to-cubicle interaction.”
Sure, preschoolers may not think twice about remote learning, but lots of teachers and students alike are missing the classroom. And probably a few thousand parents too, who have had to adjust to take on both work-from-home and teach-from-home double duty.
“I walked both my sons to elementary school every single school day this year, not thinking twice about it, and now, I miss it desperately,” DiMarco said of her own top missed activity.
Grocery shopping in peace
No panic buying in bulk or seeing rows upon rows of empty shelves, but seeing people calmly pick up all the products they need, when they need it and get in a normal-sized line to pay for it.
Making memories big and small
Milestones have been missed — weddings canceled, funerals forgotten, family reunions postponed, half-marathon races restricted and more daily interactions for people to cherish that were supposed to happen and didn’t.
Di Marco suggests tapping into the various virtual options right now.
Using Zoom, FaceTime or Skype to create hangouts, workouts, happy hours and birthday parties are all great options, she said.
“I think the key is to think through the things that you miss and consider how you can recreate them virtually,” DiMarco explained.
She also said it’s a good idea to stretch the legs and get outside.
“There’s always the neighborhood walk/bike ride,” she said.
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