The “New Normal”
As stay at home orders are lifted, many people are asking themselves what the “new normal” will be like, whether there was ever truly a “normal,” or whether establishing their own sense of “normalcy” will be possible. Some express excitement and eagerness to return to their pre-COVID lives (yes homemakers, I see you!) while others have found that they have actually enjoyed living, working, and learning from home. Many individuals have been saying that as a result of cancelled commutes, extracurricular activities, and social activities, they have found themselves reclaiming their time and engaging in activities they either did not have time for before, or simply put off due to having other priorities.
At this time, reflecting and posing questions about how you would like your life to shape up may be beneficial for establishing patterns and routines that make sense in trying to live your best quality life.
- Have you been spending more time with family and loved ones within the home? How were those connections before, where do they stand now, and is there anything about that you would like to keep about those dynamic shifts as we move forward?
- With virtual connections as an alternative for maintaining contact, have you reconnected with family and/or friends that you had lost touch with, due to distance or otherwise? Might these platforms be helpful in maintaining those relationships, even from afar?
- If you have found yourself cooking more due to restaurants being closed, is that something that you have enjoyed, and/or something that has helped with your overall wellness?
- Have you paid more attention to your physical health, exercised more, or stepped out for runs, walks, or just a breath of fresh air? How have these forms of self-care enhanced your life, re-energized or recharged you, and will you make room for that additional movement in your daily or weekly routine?
- Are music, art, or other forms of expression sources that you have tapped into as creative ways to stay active and entertained? Have you explored hobbies or activities you had previously enjoyed but neglected due to having these on the backburner? What might you want to do to keep these as a regular part of your life?
- With limited resources at times, have you learned to be more resourceful or found ways to “make due” with what you have? If you have found yourself practicing gratitude for the things you do have, has that shaped your perspective in ways you would like to continue?
- Have you been finding ways to let go of imperfection, or become more okay with settling for “good enough,” and has that offered any relief? Is self-compassion something you may benefit from practicing more of on a regular basis?
- And finally, have you found yourself building your tolerance and acceptance of uncertainty, learning to live more fully without knowing what the next day, week, or year will bring, focusing more on the here-and-now?
It can feel counterintuitive to reflect on aspects of our lives that may have, perhaps surprisingly, become better during these challenging and uncertain times. By doing so, however, and asking ourselves some of the questions above, we can facilitate the process of coming to a deeper understanding and appreciation of some of our previously neglected wants and needs. As we take these rare moments to pause and observe how our lives have shifted since pressing the “reset” button following the stay at home order, we may just discover lifestyle changes and practices that allow us to live more values-based lives in the years to come.