12May

Embracing the New Normal

How many of you are ready for this corona virus to be over so you can go back to your normal lives? Are you ready to go back to your jobs, back to eating out at restaurants, back to bars/clubs, back to taking trips/vacations, back to meetings/conferences, back to concerts/events, or back to school? Even though we may all be itching for some amount of normalcy back in our lives, let’s not lose sight of all the positives we have gained throughout this pandemic.

“Normal” is a very subjective concept, therefore, everyone’s normal looks different and is uniquely individual to every human being. However, there are some universal impressions that we can all continue to embrace in our lives as the world begins to resume back to “normal.” These things include self-care, quality time with loved ones, taking care of the environment, embracing a sense of community, enhancing gratitude, being considerate of others, cultivating mindfulness, etc. Although this pandemic has caused an immense amount of stress, anxiety, worry, panic, and grief among the world, it has also given us perspective. If only we can all embrace this new perspective to create a new normal, we can all start to make some positive changes in ourselves and the world. Instead of looking at this pandemic as a tragedy, let’s look at it as an opportunity to learn and grow, an opportunity at a fresh start…a world-wide reset button.

Before we so eagerly resume the world back to how things were, let’s take a look at some of the things covid-19 has taught us that we shouldn’t so quickly forget again.

• Self-care: One of the biggest take-aways from this experience is the shift of focus on self-care and overall wellness. Self-care is one of those things that gets pushed to the back burner when we become too enmeshed in our jobs or day-to-day lives. Therefore, with much more time on our hands, people have begun to revisit this ever so important concept. People are walking or biking more outside, have more time to cook healthy meals, reconnecting with nature, picking up old hobbies again, and learning to put themselves first. Self-care is critical in tough times but times don’t have to be tough for us to start engaging in self-care.

• Quality Time: Who are you quarantined at home with…family, spouses, siblings, significant others, friends as roommates, animals? Whoever it may be, I’m sure you’ve learned a lot about each other in the last month or so than you have living with them your entire life. This quarantine may have tested some relationships but ultimately it has taught us how to spend quality time with each other again. In day-to-day life, we may wake up, go to work, come home, and go back to sleep just to do it all over again. We may be in the presence of loved ones but we may not be fully present. Let’s not carry this over into our new normal but rather continue to have stimulating conversations, game nights, and positive interactions doing random or just everyday things together.

• Environmental Change: It’s not a secret that this pandemic has resulted in some positive environmental changes all over the world. I’m not a professional environmentalist, but it doesn’t take one to recognize nature’s beauty and make the efforts to take care of our earth. With less human pollution and littering, animals are returning and our ecosystem is thriving. Therefore, it’s as simple as being more cognizant about what you’re doing to continue taking care of the planet.

• Sense of Community: We’re all in this together! It’s remarkable to see how a pandemic can bring people together. This is something the entire world is going through, therefore, no one should feel alone. Although, everyone is being affected by it in different ways, we are still experiencing it together. Along with this comes being considerate of others while shopping for essentials and by following CDC guidelines to not only protect yourself but also those around you that may be more vulnerable to contracting the virus. All this has taught us what it means to be a community and we should continue to embrace it in sickness and in health.

• Gratitude: If you weren’t grateful for your life or health before, I hope that you are now. Covid-19 has showed us to not take simple things for granted but rather express daily gratitude for everything you do have and not complain about the things you don’t have. Some have lost their jobs but still continue to be paid, others are essential workers and get exposed on a daily basis but are saving lives. No matter your situation, we all have to be grateful for our lives, our health, our homes, our loved ones, our community, our abilities, our planet, our essential workers, our jobs, and our ability to help one another.

• Mindfulness: Hopefully, one thing you can take away from this experience is the practice of being in the present moment. The pandemic was out of our control, things shutting down was out of our control, losing jobs was out of our control but we have control over the perspective we take on it, the reactions we have, and our ability to live life in the present moment. Living your life in your head, worrying about the future is going to take away the life you have today. The only way to get through is to take it day by day. Let’s not lose this concept but rather cultivate it even more so in the new normal.

Overall, I hope that this experience and this pandemic has opened eyes for many in the world. Opened eyes to positive changes lying ahead all starting with simple things we can do today and continue to do when this is all over. Just remember, it is temporary and we are just living in a history book that our kids or grandkids and future children will be reading about one day. As for now, let’s continue to take care of ourselves, express gratitude, cultivate mindfulness, take care of our environment, enhance our sense of community, and spend quality time with our loved ones.

If you are finding yourself experiencing anxiety, stress, depression, grief, or panic and are having a difficult time coping with the pandemic, please contact Life Enhancement Counseling Services today at 407-443-8862 to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced Orlando mental health counselors. We can help you embrace YOUR new normal.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Barbara Vehabovic