by Alyssa Delarossa
Edited by Natalie Grace Sipula
[3 minute read]
As the United States and more of our world reopens, the societal pressure to keep up with the quickening pace of life and activities is strong. Many people are no longer wearing a mask if they are fully vaccinated and have started attending crowded clubs and events. Personally, despite this social pressure and despite the fact that I am fully vaccinated, I am remaining cautious and will continue wearing a mask and socially distancing, as both actions have worked so effectively this past year and also due to the Delta variant of Covid-19 that is spreading rapidly around the world and in the United States.
Do I feel a bit weird running around in a mask while lots of residents in my home of Ventura County ( a one hour drive North of LA) have ditched theirs? Yes, absolutely! Peer pressure and the pressure to conform to the current social environment is real. However, the thought of potentially contracting the virus or other viruses helps me keep the mask on and thankfully, I haven’t yet had any problems with staying six feet apart from strangers.
With that being said, I have started to spend more time with my family. We are not all living together but with the reopening, I have made this exception for them. I also have close friends that I’ll hang out with in my hometown, Santa Clarita (where Six Flags Magic Mountain theme park is). I’m still very hesitant to attend crowded events and places but I will spend one-on-one time with these groups of people I call “my inner circle.”
While I do want and tend to spend time with my “inner circle” of friends and family, I spend even more time absorbed in self-care practices such as meditation, journaling, and exercise. Some of the physical activities I have been engaging in are swimming, skating, and kayaking. I tend to engage in these activities either alone or with my inner circle and the fulfillment they bring is like no other.
Some other fulfilling activities I do alone to fill up my time are cooking and writing poetry. These activities allow me to express creativity which is very fulfilling – not to mention delicious! The poetry I write does tend to be more emotional because for me personally, it’s a great way to release any emotional pain/feelings I may be experiencing at the time.
So now that you have read a bit about my life post-lockdown, I hope that you feel better equipped to handle the transition we are experiencing at the present time, regardless of the stage your country is in with their pandemic response. The most important thing to keep in mind is that if your country/area is removing restrictions, that does not mean you have to go at the same pace. If a continued practice of social distancing is what’s best for you, then continue to practice social distancing. If wearing a mask or double-masking makes you feel safer, then continue to wear them. The pressure to conform and adapt to our environment is strong, but having our boundaries and safe practices set outweighs the invisible pressure. In addition to setting your boundaries for whatever practices are safe and put you at the most ease, taking time to enjoy your hobbies or finding new hobbies is one of the most rewarding ways to keep up your overall mental health and well-being, especially in a world that now seems unpredictable and fast-changing.
Alyssa is a student at the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences majoring in psychology. Alyssa has lived in four different cities in California that include Ventura, Somerset, (one hour south from Sacramento) Santa Cruz, and Santa Clarita, and has a variety of European and Hispanic ancestry. Currently, Alyssa resides in Oxnard, California. When she is not studying or working on various community engagement projects, she enjoys reading, skateboarding, skim boarding, rollerblading, ice skating, hiking, and going to the beach.