It’s true to say that while the global pandemic we have all had to suffer is by no means over, thinking about how we can move back to normality (now that seems to be in reach) is a form of self-care.

After all, over the last year and its associated lockdowns, many of us have had to make necessary concessions such as canceling trips, suspending our usual habits and indulgences, and generally feeling socially isolated. We all knew this was for an important reason, and it was and still is, but that doesn’t mean we don’t feel a little deflated.

For that reason, it can be nice to plan what you hope to get up to once society opens up again. But more than that, this effort should be measured by what means you’ll take to bust your stress when returning to normality, as in lockdown, this could have been growing stronger and stronger. Let’s figure out ways to let off that compressed steam, together:

Road Trip!

Heading on a road trip can be a fantastic use of your time as well as allowing you to decompress from a year behind walls in lockdown. Of course, it’s important to check ahead to see just how open certain areas are, as from state to state, county to county or province to province, the rules may be different.

However, you can make an amazing go of things if you plan a trip like this, bring over your trusted friends and drive with them in rural environments using 4×4 wheels, and urban environments you hope to explore at your own pace. Provided you plan each stop via milestones, such as camping grounds or hotels (or simply bring along a camper van, RV or caravan), you can make an incredible set of memories exploring the world you’ve been locked away from for some time. If this doesn’t satiate the wanderlust that has been building for the past year, it’s hard to know what will. In that case, you’ll be busting your post-pandemic stress in the healthiest manner possible.

Just be sure to curate your driving playlist well, as without this, you’ll have less fun.

An Informal Banquet & Feast

There’s nothing that brings people together quite like excellent food, and there’s nothing that helps you destress like enjoying a relatively acceptable indulgence. 

For this reason, it can be nice to invite your friends and family over for a fun informal home banquet and feast, one geared at helping you relax, enabling you to feel calmed, supported, and cared for at every level.

This might involve roasting a large sharable bird or enjoying barbecue, or perhaps just ordering pizza from your local delivery place in bulk with all the trimmings and sides. In fact, perhaps the less overall effort you have to put into this (with friends bringing their own contributions), can help you enjoy yourself more greatly. You may wish to try watermelon punch recipes, or luxury treats like chocolate fountains that put a smile on everyone’s face.

An informal feast can not only help you enjoy some time together, but do so in a totally non-threatening environment, where everyone can just sit back, relax, and enjoy themselves. After a year of having to act as sensibly as possible, and of enjoying relatively low-key night in after night in, an open social event within your home, just like this, can be a great way to celebrate a return to normality.

Finding A Show

While not all shows and events have reopened back up, and not all venues have survived the last year, some have, and that means that they need your support more than ever. However, the truth is that we need their support too, as going to shows, enjoying a communal event with people and losing your stress through dancing at a concert or enjoying a great theatre show is paramount.

So, finding a show is a great place to begin. This might involve supporting a local arts theatre and inviting a couple of friends along, or it might mean booking a three-day festival extravaganza geared to helping you enjoy a wonderful time with the artist you’ve only seen through the Spotify layout for over a year.

But of course, you don’t have to think of what you’d most like to go to, but rather, what could make for the best experience. Perhaps your grandmother has been cooped up in her care home and you’ve only been able to enjoy quick visits thanks to the last year and its regulations, and so taking her out to see a fun musical could be a great way for you to reconnect again.

Whatever you choose, don’t ignore how wonderful an approach like this can be, you never quite know just what is out there and waiting for you.

Surprise Visits

You may find that dropping in on your friends when they’re not expecting you (or rather, arranging this with those they live with so that they can make sure they’re in the right place in the right time with the day to spare), could be a wonderful way of reconnecting and seeing your friend again.

Perhaps you could book tickets to an opening sports game, or just go to visit your local art museum and care for an afternoon, catching up and reminiscing. When the laughter is rolling and you’re catching up with care, it may feel as though the difficulty of the last year never took place. That’s a temporary feeling of course, but it can really help when removing your stress and giving you something to look forward to.

Orbit A Trip Around An Event

It can be a nice idea to orbit an entire week’s trip around an event, bringing your pals along with you. Perhaps you’re there to visit the graduation of a friend from college now that these ceremonial events are opening up, and so you head to that city with your friends, rent an Airbnb for seven days, and then celebrate with them before they pack up and head home.

That’s quite a specific example, but it shows that anything will do as long as you’re with your friends and celebrating or orbiting an event that means something to you all. This can also help you justify everyone meeting up with aligned schedules, investing in an experience you can all enjoy.

Go For Pure Relaxation

Sometimes, busting stress actually does mean diving into relaxation and not feeling guilty about wanting a little more downtime, especially because the last year, despite being heavily involved with the indoors, has been quite actively stressful while we try to occupy ourselves and stave off cabin fever.

So, perhaps investing in a great spa weekend with a couple of friends is just the ticket you need to feeling great. Busting that post-pandemic stress might involve getting a massage to undo the knots in your neck, or sitting in a jacuzzi until you look like a very relaxed prune (but feel like a very relaxed million dollars). 

You don’t even need to spend money or go somewhere special to achieve peace like this. Simply going for waterfront walks with a friend semi-regularly, or starting a fishing habit can help. No matter what you choose, what matters is taking life at a slower pace and making the most of it.

With this advice, we hope you can bust that post-pandemic stress with your good friends. No matter if you only use a couple or attempt all of the headings on this list, we hope you can slowly dissolve your pent up worries regarding the tough year we’ve all been through.