Getting Used to the New Normal - How are you doing?
Right now, there’s plenty to worry about – listening to the news is all doom and gloom—as it has been since the outbreak of the coronavirus— and it’s challenging for the bravest optimist to keep the positive vibes flowing. Obviously, we’re all taking it seriously. This will cause some intense changes to the way we live and work, long after the immediate crisis has passed. But while it’s easy to stay focused on the mayhem, we need to remember that our thoughts are energy – and what you focus on expands.
Especially during this time, it’s important that we keep refocusing our mindset on a positive, healing outcome. Not just for ourselves, families and friends, but for our world. There are things you need to know about this outbreak to protect yourself and those around you, but you don’t need to be obsessed about becoming a COVID-19 expert. And you don’t need to fill your mind with horrific details 24/7.
The best thing you can do right now is re-align your thoughts and energy on whatever positivity you can – so you have the strength, and inner and outer health needed to get through this. Here are a few ideas – what else can you come up with?
Establish or Stick with Your Routines. Whether you’re working from home for the first time, taking care of the kids while they’re off from school, unable to work – or all of the above - establishing a daily routine will help you keep a sense of calm and order out of the chaos. Studies have shown that people who practice consistent life routines are happier on average, and feel their lives are more meaningful. Go to bed and wake up on your typical schedule. Establish regular mealtimes. Exercise o or get outside – nature is healing!
Love yourself. Be kind to yourself. This is a time of great challenge and uncertainty around the world. Life as we’re used to it has been radically altered. There are health and money worries for many of us. The next few months may look very different than what any of us had planned. I’m thinking of the John Lennon quote – “Life happens when you’re making other plans.” Many of our plans for the upcoming months have been altered - family vacations, trips, moving, starting a job. But it doesn’t help to beat yourself up for what you can’t do now, or what the outbreak has done to change your life. Go easy on yourself. Accept that you may not get to accomplish everything you had planned. Grieve, get your emotions out. Be gentle and validate yourself for what you feel. For most of us, we’ve never experienced a challenge like this ever in our lives. Navigating right now may feel like you’re rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. Take it slow.
Practice Gratitude. This is one of my favorite strategies. It never fails to make me feel better. Start and end your day with acknowledging something (or many things) you’re grateful for. Gratitude is your reminder that not everything that’s happening right now is bad.
Tune it out. Stop watching or listening to the news 24/7. Don’t overload your mind with online dire predictions of the moment. Choose your source and limit the time you’ll spend on news and research every day and stick to it.
Remember the past. We may not have experienced anything quite like the coronavirus outbreak in our lives before, but many of us have been through some major life experiences. Tap into your strength by remembering how you got through them. Consider the major disasters like Hurricane Katrina, 9/11, or the financial breakdown of 2008. Or even your own personal life challenges like divorce, death of a loved one, loss of a job, or your own health challenges. You triumphed over all of it! And you’re stronger because of it. We will get through this. You will get through this. Because there is no one like you. You’re special, you’re powerful, you have your own message and you’re here because the world needs you and your unique spirit.
This is our new normal for a while. It’s scary, but we’ll be on the other side of it soon. Maybe a little bruised, but not broken. I’ll leave you with this mantra from an old friend who used it often during a crisis. It became one of mine.
“It will all be ok in the end. If it’s not ok, it’s not the end.”