Resocialization after a pandemic News, Sports, Work


Correspondent Photo / Kerri Rickard Robert Gardi Jr. from Brookfield, left, and his uncle, Albert Rivera from Austintown, gather with friends and family for a surprise Davidson’s birthday party in Austintown. After two years at home, people have adapted to being able to socialize again.

Having multiple socially awkward moments in one day as we move away from a coronavirus pandemic is the new norm.

Friendly interactions are more like weird and rare bird dances when it comes to also re-learning how to make a friend. Do not be surprised if the person in front of you at the checkout line becomes too talkative with the cashier. According to mental health experts, there is a good chance that he / she may be the only person he / she talks to all day or even all week.

Patience with yourself and others is the most beneficial way to overcome it.

How do we move forward after so many changes?

“There is no ‘return to our old lives’ really,” said Mario La Luz, a professional counselor licensed and graduated from Youngstown State University in 2016 with a Master of Science in Education.

“The pandemic has forced us all to slow down and reflect on our jobs and lives more than we have had in the past. For some people, this may have been something entirely new to encounter, leading to changes in work or the start-up of our businesses. “It’s perfectly okay to discuss and share our experiences with others, because we did not go through it alone.”

Some may have taken up “grandma’s hobbies,” such as gardening, canning, knitting, and baking, as people were forced to spend much more time at home over the past two years.

“Do not forget to share with others new hobbies that you may have chosen and which you have found happiness or even failed,” said La Luz. “It is guaranteed that someone else’s bread did not turn out as they expected or they killed the beginning of the sourdough.

“If you have found that you enjoy life at home more than before, it is good to share your joy with others,” he said.

Coping with grief and hardship also changed during the pandemic.

“Keep in mind that we have people who are still recovering, grieving and going through different kinds of health circumstances,” he said. “Some people have gone through different levels of depression and anxiety that in the past were mostly happy people, but changes have taken place. Be patient with them and with yourself. We are all still recovering. “


La Luz offered the following tips for dealing with reintegration through society again:

. Make sure you give yourself time to process what you are going through. Do not expect to normalize quickly. Two years, almost three years, of a pandemic is a long time. Sit down with yourself, or with something you like and reflect on.

. Do not feel like you need to fill in everything or bite the tongue for your experiences. Most likely, there are others who want to discuss what they have gone through and share commonalities of support.

Njerëzve Most people are at different levels of healing. No one will return to the old normalcy. You need a period of adjustment at home, in the office, in public. It does not happen overnight. It will take months, if not more, to get out of the pandemic. IT IS STOPPED.

. There are more cases of anxiety / depression or feelings of insecurity about what we are feeling. It is best to talk to friends, family or mental health professionals. Make regular contact with these people – even co-workers – so that we can begin to process an important life event that has happened to all of us.

Harroni Remember to occasionally put on a thick hat and HAVE FUN.


Speaking of entertainment, local entertainment and group activities have come out slowly.

Megan Albani of Boardman and Darla Wilson of Youngstown said they were excited to be able to fall to the floor as dance instructors back at Cedar’s West End in Youngstown. Classes resumed in October and take place on Thursday at 7 p.m.

During the worst period of the pandemic, even jumping close to a partner in public was off the table. Many people found joy instead by dancing home on social media like TikTok.

Returning to the public had some unexpected problems.

“Not long ago, I remember most of us were able to dance to 10 songs or more all the time,” Albani said. “Now, there may be only three songs, but it is a process of getting back to where we were and it will not happen overnight.

“Many of our bodies have changed and we have all been through so much. “But it’s great to let our body memory take control again and just do something we love so much.”

Wilson and Albani also had students in a dance program at YSU who took swing dance classes for five or six years, gathering large numbers of followers.

“Right now the classes may be smaller as we temporarily lost our YSU students, but it is only part of the return process,” said Wilson, also a physical therapist in Austintown.

“Just the fact that we could not dance face to face with each other, hold hands and be close, really affected many of us in general. “Being able to touch another person – even if you just hug again – is strange, but something familiar that will take time to get used to again,” said Albani.

At the West Side Bowl in Youngstown, “Viking” Jim Allgren, Lisa Rembowski and their client through the Golden String adult activity program, Ajit Krishnan, 42, of Liberty, returned to bowling.

Krishnan, who is autistic, enjoys his daily program at Purple Cat. The Golden String takes clients with special needs to social events in the three-county area and bowling is one of his favorites.

“He beats me quite often,” Allgren said. “He’s usually in his 100s, but his top game is 159. That’s when I nicknamed him ‘Kingpin!’ He also won awards at the Purple Cat Bowling League banquet for being on the second best team and for “Best Form”. “He is my son at home.”

Allgren and Rembowski said Krishnan and other clients had adjusted to go to more exits. The community with special needs initially had a difficult time not being able to enjoy their daily routine, but regular communication with friends, more visits and activities inside the house, along with world news, helped to ‘kept them informed.

“Ajit is great for disinfecting hands and wearing a face shield,” Rembowski said. “He understands the issues of the pandemic well and stays safe. Being out in the community is extremely important to him and a big part of his daily routine. “He is very happy to be back.”


Sitting between dancers and bullies almost feels revolutionary finding joy again, as if a hard fight is coming to an end.

So many within the community with special needs / developmental disabilities are accustomed to their routines and when they are interrupted, behaviors can change, Allgren and Rembowski said. Those individuals on the autism spectrum or who are nonverbal, who were accustomed to attending adult workshops or daily programs, did not always fully understand at first what was happening in the world and why they were unable to attend.

Caregivers made sure to read the daily newspapers to show excerpts of news broadcasts so that community members could stay informed, Allgren and Rembowski said.

Interruption of routine and now returning to companionship has been a challenge for most people, La Luz said. Diving back into such social situations can bring back many memories, even anxiety.

“There will come moments when you probably do not feel ready to be social again. “It’s okay,” said La Luz. “Sit with yourself or others and discuss what you may be feeling. Opening lines of discussion and communication can be beneficial not only for you but also for others.

“Sometimes, a simple comment like, ‘We’ve probably gone too far,’ will open the door to a bigger discussion that is helpful.”

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