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I’ve been thinking about how to plan for the reopening of my life. The states and nation aren’t the only ones who need a plan!

Developing plans for reopening states is a reasonable next step. We need to safely help the economy recover and get as many people back to work and school as possible. I’d be lying, though, if I didn’t mention the immediate feeling of fear when I think about doing this. How can I continue to keep myself and my family safe? Whose leadership should I follow?

The questions kept rolling in. And I realized that while my governor will decide how to reopen Maryland, I still need to make a lot of choices that address my fears and reflect my assessment of the past 6+ weeks sheltering at home.

The next several months will feel like taking two steps forward and one step backward. Our new normal will involve waves of flattening the curve and time—until immunity arrives with either a reliable antibody test or vaccine.

Ask Questions Before Reopening

Given this continued uncertainty mixed with teases of normalcy, how do you and I reopen our lives? A one-size-fits-all plan doesn’t exist because everyone’s situation is different. It’s important to ask ourselves the right questions.

You can start with these as you plan to reopen your life:

  1. How do I want to feel next month? This summer? In the fall?
  2. What’s working well at work and at home?
  3. What needs to change?

The Comfort Zone

The graphic below from ThirdPath gives us a way to visualize the comfort zones we’ll likely repeatedly pass through in the coming months. Despite the fear, you and I have opportunities for growth. We can unleash the current stress to find meaning and impact.

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Here are the questions related to the fear zone that I’m asking myself:

  1. What makes me feel safe/unsafe related to the virus?
  2. What scares me about expanding the number of people I come in contact with?
  3. What protection routines and rules are important to me that I can commit to?
  4. What can I do to ease financial challenges?
  5. What will it take for me to feel comfortable eating at restaurants, attending large events, or traveling?
  6. Who do I trust to guide me during COVID-19?

As I refine my answers to these questions, I need to keep in mind what I have control over and what I don’t. I may end up creating a shortlist of non-negotiables that my family and I can agree to.

What questions about safety in the upcoming months would you add to my list? Please share by responding in the comments.

Next week, I’ll share my list of questions that relate to the acceptance zone. Until then, I hope you and your loved ones remain physically and mentally well.

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I’m Karen Clark Salinas, and it’s my mission to help women live their full purpose (work + family) without sacrificing wellbeing. I want to be the coach I wish I’d had when I was a working mom. Someone to help me get unstuck and live my life more intentionally. Marriage, motherhood, chronic illness, divorce, remarriage, and caring for aging loved ones contribute significantly to my story. I know for sure that, with my support, you can pursue your professional dreams while raising a happy and healthy family.