Many of us are trying to come to terms with accepting the pandemic, and social isolation, as they are both not going anywhere anytime soon. In addition to that, our reality has truly changed, possibly forever.
We’re in a new normal.
Some things that have changed for many of us:
- A sense of restriction: We’re not able to do our usual things — not only work and school, but things like workout classes, haircuts, coffee shops, restaurants, shops and meeting friends for lunch or dinner. That can feel very restricted.
- Lots of uncertainty and anxiety: Things are incredibly uncertain right now, for all of us especially for our health, the health of our loved ones, the state of the world, our economy, our individual financial situations. And that’s just the start of it. All of this uncertainty is triggering feelings of stress, fear and anxiety in so many people, in several ways.
- A feeling of isolation but also (possibly) togetherness: For several people, social distancing has created a feeling of isolation which can be very hard to handle. But for many, there can also be a sense of togetherness – we are all in it together, no one is excluded. Some are creating that feeling of togetherness by doing zoom calls, connecting via FaceTime, or by taking part in community or group efforts to help.
- Contraction when we’re feeling overwhelmed: It can all be too much. And once we feel that sense of overwhelm, we will want to pack up, exit, turn away, avoid. Many of us will avoid hard tasks, distracted from our focus, avoid our healthy lifestyle. This is all completely normal!
- A sense of disruption: Our old habits have all been disrupted — we can’t do all the things we’re used to doing, and that gives us a feeling of being upended. It’s frustrating to have things disrupted, and can make us feel afloat.
- Irritation being with others 24/7: Being isolated with the same people every day can cause friction even if its your own family. Lets be honest here, many times it brings up all of our issues, all the ways we respond (and they respond) when we are triggered.
- Wanting it all to be over: Impatience! We just want to go back to normal. It’s hard to accept the way things are.
- Wanting to feel something meaningful: This will all feel very unanchored for many of us. And during this feeling of groundlessness and instability, we will yearn for some kind of meaning and some sense of purpose.
You might not be experiencing all of these, as everyone is experiencing the new norm differently.
But it is a new normal.
So the question is: will we resist it, or can we see it as an opportunity?
We can complain all we want about the new norm even hate it. Be in constant frustration about it. That’s one possibility.
Another possibility is to use it as a growth opportunity.