The “new normal” is a phrase that has entered our everyday speech, along with phrases such as “social distancing,” “physical distancing,” or “PPE.” Due to COVID-19 pandemic, our lives have been changed. The questions are, how much longer will our lives be changed, and will our lives ever be what they were before?
Therefore, the idea of a “new normal” worries some people and causes many to feel anxious. Friends of mine, and some clients of mine, lament that life may never be how it was before the pandemic. Yes, that may be true. But I wonder if a return to normal is what’s in our best interest.
When we focus on the new normal, we compare our present moment with the past of a few months ago. As I reflect on the past, I recall many positive aspects of our society. Yet, I also remember many negative aspects of our society. Might it be possible that this time of “difference” within our society can also be a time to create a “new normal”? Might this present moment be an opportunity to move into the future of possibilities?
I propose a shift in perspective so that we can take the positive elements of this present time and continue them when the pandemic is no longer an issue. Instead of a return to normal, let’s proactively work toward a positive new normal, which will, over time, simply be known as “normal.”
Here are my suggestions for valuable lesson opportunities we can learn from this new normal:
Re-define the phrase new normal
Normal is what we’re used to; for months, that routine has been challenged. Longing for normal means of longing for the past. What if we look to a “new normal” filled with possibilities?
Let go of victim thinking
These events were not targeted to you individually, even if you are affected by them. A victim is a person devoid of choices. You do have options today. Some aspects of life are beyond your control, while other aspects are in your control. Learn the difference and focus on those areas you can change.
Re-connection with family
The quarantine, for better or worse, forced families together in their dwellings. No family dynamic is perfect, but has your family grown closer? Have you eaten more dinners together or started game nights? Lack of commuting to work and fewer activities and meetings provide families more time together. How can this togetherness become our new normal?
Find your peace
Anger has a way of taking over our life, spilling onto people or events we aren’t even angry about. Our society is sharing in this everyday new normal, enabling us to better understand each other in our shared experience. Take the energy of your anger and shift it to a passion of service toward society.
I grew up before the commercial use of the internet, and before the existence of social media. I recall spending much of my time with my friends in person. During quarantine, we can’t physically spend time with friends, but we can use technology for good. Spend time with your friends via the internet, where you can see each and share in a group conversation and group activities. If this interaction with your friends is new to you, how can you maintain this new normal into the future?
Be kind to others and yourself
As society tries to cope, I find that most people seem a bit nicer and more patient. We’re in this together. Many messages we hear lately are reminders to take care of ourselves during the quarantine. This is essential daily, regardless of what is happening. In the new normal, how will you continue, every day, taking care of yourself and being kind to others?
What aspects of this new normal would you like to keep moving into the future? What would you like to change or stay the same? Start making a list now for you and your loved ones. Also, share with us here or on social media so we can learn from each other.
I challenge us to shift our perspective to no longer look at this period from a negative attitude but to look at it from a positive outlook. We can then create a future filled with positive experiences. Don’t let these past few months pass us by without us walking away with healthy learning. Let’s proactively shape the future we want to live in.