Beware the blues after your first post-COVID gathering

We’re all anxiously awaiting being vaccinated and finally getting to visit friends in person after more than a year of social distancing. Be prepared for a bit of an emotional rollercoaster — up and down — on that first post-COVID gathering.

A month ago our good friends K & M reached out and asked if Daniel and I were interested in getting together for several days of visiting, food, board games, movies, and visiting after some mutually-agreed-upon quarantining prior. All 4 of us are fully work-from-home and have been following very similar stringent quarantining protocols for the past year which certainly made things simpler.

Daniel and I readily agreed and we had several Zoom visits discussing what “super-quarantining” (my wording) meant to all of us. We then super-quarantined for 2 weeks before Daniel and I drove out to their place for a delightful 5 days. Our car was loaded with food & board games we got to share with others at the same table.

The visit itself was amazing. By the third day I had, surprisingly, stopped even thinking about the pandemic and analyzing every decision to see if it was a safe one. It was like the Before Times!

While I anticipated some initial anxiety on seeing them in-person (OMG: inside with people without masks!?), and the heady high from eating at the same table, I was not prepared for the extreme emotional drop the day after we got home.

And wow was there an emotional drop! We got home on a Wednesday evening and Thursday was the most depressed I’ve been in a very very long time. It wasn’t any one thing — or maybe it was everything? Maybe it was because I was coming back to being stuck in my house and working from my basement for an unknown number of weeks (months?). Maybe it was because I had a taste of the Before Times and the transition back to the now-COVID Times happened in 12 hours instead of 12 months. Regardless, I was not prepared for it and it was a very dark day.

Friday, the day after, was better. Saturday I felt like a new human being. Actually, I felt better than I had in a very long time and that mental state has stuck with me these past few days. It’s as though I finally remembered what hope was. I remembered what life was like before COVID and the knowledge that something like it was in my not-too-distant future.

When you have your first post-COVID gathering, I hope it is joyous and everything that you were missing for months. Plan to give yourself some space and time a few days after for some transient blues.