In reference to the Coronavirus pandemic, I keep hearing "new normal” this and “new normal” that. When I listen carefully to what people are saying, I often agree with their point--things have shifted, and fast. But the language of “new normal” implies permanence; exactly what we don’t want to apply to this current and temporary crisis. Language is powerful. It affects how we view and make meaning of things that are happening around us. It also colors the way others perceive these experiences. So, I would like to propose some alternatives for “new normal”:
1. Reframe the way you are processing this situation. Yes, it’s filled with fear, uncertainty, loss, and grief. However, we can’t get swallowed up by those things. We can also look for the gifts. For example, the outpouring of kindness and generosity demonstrated over the last few weeks has been amazing. This is particularly powerful in the wake of what has been several years filled with polarizing rhetoric and ideological divide.
In a time when we have little control over so many things, let’s focus on what we can control: our mindset. See this as an opportunity to get started on some projects that you’ve been putting off, learn something new, or deepen your connections with family and friends. Perhaps you can start making healthier lifestyle choices, like changing your diet or practicing mindfulness meditation. What can you do, now, to reframe this experience?
2. Know that this is temporary, and focus on creating our new normal. New normal is not what we’re experiencing now, it’s on the other side of this pandemic. Start imagining what lessons you are going to carry forward. What are you learning about yourself? How have your priorities shifted? What are some things that you are doing now that are working well and that you should commit to for the long haul? It’s important to think about the future and anchor to it. That ability is what helps us have hope, find the meaning in painful situations, and grow. It also provides an aspirational destination that is more solid than the uncertainty-filled reality we are experiencing right now.
3. Widen your lens. I felt afraid and alone three weeks ago. I didn’t know how I was going to manage childcare, keep my business relevant, and pay salaries. That lasted a couple of days but quickly fell to the wayside as I offered support for others. I began looking for ways to be of service, and it transformed my outlook, my energy, and my determination. There’s nothing quite as powerful as giving, just for the sake of being helpful.
I, like many of you, am spent with the constant flood of bad news. But I jump out of bed every morning knowing that not doing something, to help, to contribute, is not an option. What can you do?
If you’re looking for what you can do right now, and want to invest in structured opportunities to learn, reflect, integrate some new practices, all with the support of others like you, join us for our Well-Being and Morale online course which begins this Friday, April 10. We also have an array of other timely online courses. Check them out now because they begin very soon and because we want to be here for you when you need us most.
We look forward to working with you through this experience, and beyond.