As Trinidad & Tobago slowly come out of this pandemic, social distancing and other safety protocols are here for awhile. We’re in a new normal.
Somethings that have changed for many of us:
- A sense of restriction: We’re not able to do our usual things such as school, work and the little things like socializing at the bar, restaurant and more. That can feel very restricted.
- Heightened uncertainty & anxiety: Things are uncertain right now for all of us – for our health, health of loved ones, the state of the world, the shaky economy, our individual financial situations. All of this uncertainty is triggering feelings of stress, fear and anxiety in most people, in different ways.
- Withdraw when we’re feeling overwhelmed: It can all be too much. When we feel that sense of overwhelm, we can shut down, exit, turn away or avoid. We avoid hard tasks, we go to distractions or we avoid our healthy habits. This is completely normal.
- A sense of disorientation: Our old habits have been disrupted, we can’t do all the things we’re used to doing and that gives us a feeling of being disorientated. It’s frustrating to have things disrupted and can make us feel afloat.
- Impatience: Wanting it all to be over with. We just want to go back to how it use to be before the pandemic. It’s hard to accept the way things are right now.
- Unanchored: Wanting to feel something meaningful and in this feeling of groundlessness and instability, we can yearn for some kind of meaning, a sense of purpose.
You might not be experiencing all of these, because every person experiences this new normal differently, but it is a new normal.
You can look at this new normal as an opportunity that life is giving us. Life is always opening doors for us, giving us a gift. Sometimes we don’t often recognize it.
For example, this morning, life gave you an amazing gift of a new day. Many people who are on their last breath would give anything for such a miraculous gift, and yet we often take this gift for granted. We waste the opportunity that life has given us!
So, being aware of this, how can we use this new normal as an opportunity and a gift?
Some may not agree, but the first idea I would like to offer is that the new normal is just highlighting the difficulties we often felt before, but could more easily ignore. We pretend everything is fine.
The second idea is that these are opportunities to grow, to train, to become more resilient.
We could train in each area as mentioned above:
- If you are feeling restricted, let yourself feel the feeling of restriction. It’s probably something you’ve felt many times before but didn’t face it. After you’ve felt it, can you shift this feeling to see the sense of openness and freedom and gift in each moment?
- If you’re feeling isolated, you can use this to connect to yourself more (go within). Can you let yourself feel the feeling of isolation and give yourself some compassion?
- Let yourself feel the craving for connection and meaning. And then see how you can create that for yourself, each day, without any certainty about whether you’re doing it right.
- If you’re impatient and wanting it all to be over … Can you practice patience instead? Let yourself be with the pain and frustration you’re feeling, and be willing to face it and sit in the middle of it? This is an incredibly powerful practice that will strengthen us for whatever we face in the future.
Some of the ways to cope in the new normal:
- Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media on Covid-19. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
- Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate/Mindful practices.
- Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals.
- Exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep.
- Responsible consumption of alcohol and other substances.
- Be realistic – Perfectionism and the coronavirus don’t mix
- Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
- Reconnect with things you enjoy
Self-Care Is Not Selfish!
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Mindfulness Master Practitioner (MMP), Reiki Master Practitioner, Life Coach, Yoga and Meditation Instructor for Enlightening Lotus.
868-689-3922 / [email protected]
Rishma Rampersad is also a part of Mindful KITES, a non-profit organization committed to the teaching and nurturing of good mental health practices, mindfulness and emotional resilience, geared towards empowering our nation’s children and young people.