There are plenty of new (essentially important) buzzwords that have gained traction over the last few months. An abundance of caution and self-quarantining had their time, and now social distancing, AKA physical distancing, continues to be used often. But there’s another phrase I’ve heard a few times: a new normal. As in, we’re living in a new normal and the world is different now. So how do we adjust?
First off, it’s important to know what it means to be living in a ‘new normal.’ Even though it’s extremely different from what we’ve been doing, what we’re doing now in our day-to-day lives has been going on long enough now that it’s considered the ‘normal’ way to live right now. That’s what it means when people point out that we’re living in a new normal, and that everything is different from the way it used to be. And if you’re like me, you might not need convincing of that, but instead, want to know what that looks like and how we should feel about it.
I can tell you about my new normal, at least for the time being. I’m going on my fourth week of working from home. I only go out for groceries, which I’ve only done twice in the past month. I spend most of my time in my apartment and since my job and certain interests (aka what you’re reading now) let me use my computer, I can lose myself in some of my writing projects and other online things.
I know my experience is similar to some of my friends, and it’s been helpful to talk with them and empathize with what we’re going through. Even though our new normals are similar, our experiences continue to be different. For one, I’m not at home with infants, toddlers or teenagers; I don’t live with anyone working on the front lines; part of my job includes researching daily coronavirus updates. You might have something in common with one of those things or none of it, but the fact remains that those things factor into what my new normal is. And it’s the same way for you.
But even though my life is extremely different from what it was two months ago, the things I do to maintain my mental health haven’t changed. From prayer to meditation to cognitive exercises, some of the things that have grounded me are still accessible. And while it’s sometimes helpful to see people in person, having video chats with people that I lean on are a saving grace at a time like this.
There’s no denying that we’re in a new normal of how we live our lives. But regardless of how we feel about it, we have control over how we respond and what we prioritize. Since I am prioritizing my mental health, that’s at the core of my focus for my day. But you might have other priorities, and it’s okay to make sure those are a primary focus. We’ve simultaneously had our lives flipped upside down, and the more we address that, the easier it will be to adjust to this new normal.
What is your new normal, and how are you adjusting to it? Let me know in the comments.