It has been almost a year and a half since Covid turned our lives upside down. The “new normal” has been a term tossed about often ever since this pandemic began. It is a term to make our situation seem more permanent.
It helps to alleviate our anxiety by subduing hope for our previous lives. It helps us function, feeling that this way of life is sustainable. We can get used to it and feel like our old selves in this new world. In reality, no one knows when we have reached the new normal. It is an ever-changing world. This applies to things outside of Covid also.
About 15 years ago, the new normal was Google maps or Siri giving us directions through our Bluetooth in the car. And 20 some years ago, the new normal was printing up MapQuest directions before getting in the car, and before that, fold up paper maps from the gas stations were the new normal. Somehow, we adjusted.
Change is stressful. But there is usually a silver lining somewhere to be found when our new normal shifts. The trick is to actively find it and celebrate its beauty. Sure, it’s rough wearing masks but you only have to make-up half your face, right? And, it comes in handy to cover a blemish or two. There may be limited capacity at the baseball games but it sure is nice to be rid of the pushy crowds.
Finding the silver lining is certainly one way to cope with the new normal. Another great technique is creating your new normal self-care routine. Do some honest searching within yourself. Many self-care routines (if we have any at all) are simply out of habit.
We go to the gym to ride the elliptical because we’ve been told it will make us healthy. We do yoga because it is supposed to give us peace. But there is something called joy that is a truly personal experience.
Be honest with yourself and find what truly brings you joy and incorporate it into your daily self-care routine. For some that may simply be singing in the shower. Some may enjoy painting, swimming or meditation.
Has the new normal put a damper on your self-care because it is not enjoyable to wear a mask at the gym? Adjust and adapt. See if you can do that activity out of the gym or find something that is tolerable and joyful for you to do with a mask at the gym.
Do you just plain feel like a fish out of water in this new normal? Accept that this may just be the case. If you are someone who has trouble with the continuously changing rules of the world, sit and bathe in the discomfort.
Just keep going. Do what you need to do. Follow the rules and find joy where you can. What is it they say? “If you’re going through hell, just keep going. You might get out before the devil even knows you’re there.”
Create a world that is more comfortable for you. If this pandemic has taught us anything, it has taught us to be creative in problem solving. We’ve all seen the video of the priests baptizing with squirt guns and the virtual or drive through graduations. We find a way to make that lemonade.
Last year, the pandemic had me posting a group of photos on Facebook entitled “Spring 2020 for the Sabins.” There was my son attending high school on his home computer, my University of Hawaii dance major daughter doing her ballet class remotely in our family room, and my husband and I wearing our N-95’s at work.
I made the post thinking it would be a fun surreal world to look back on. I had a sullen feeling this year when my Facebook memories appeared and there was my post. Spring 2021 for the Sabins was basically the same as “Spring 2020 for the Sabins.”
There is something to be said for accepting whatever situation you are in as the new normal. This seems to be the only way to find peace in this world. I suppose if we think about it, we are always living in a new normal. The change has just been more subtle and slow moving.
How have you been coping with the ever changing new normal? Have you found ways to find joy through all of this? Have you learned anything from this experience?