As everyone around the globe has seen, change is inevitable.
Changes can be unexpected and out of our control, whether they’re good or bad. A global pandemic, for example, is a majorly unexpected change and can be incredibly difficult to understand and deal with.
Our way of life has experienced a major shift since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The way we work, study, and socialize has undergone a complete 180, leaving us with a “new normal.”
The experience of continuous lockdowns was different for many people. Those of us who struggle with anxiety have met the closures with a sense of relief since the pressure of socializing and being out of the house was removed.
For those who enjoy socializing and being outdoors, the extensive lockdowns and quarantine periods presented a big challenge and have taken a toll on their mental health and well-being.
Finally, after over a year since the pandemic has started, restrictions are being eased, and people are being introduced to the “new normal.” But how can we ease into the new way of living?
Stages of Reacting to Change and Coping
Changes in our lifestyle affect the way we think, how we work, our sense of identity, and our relationships.
Just like grief, there are four stages of reacting and accepting change: shock, anger, other emotional responses, and acceptance.
When presented with a new and unexpected situation, the first things we feel are shock and uncertainty. Your first priority should be to gather reliable information on the situation and take a moment to make sense of it.
Following the initial sense of shock, a strong wave of emotions may engulf you. When this happens it’s important to let out your emotions and not suppress them. That being said, it’s just as important to learn how to manage these feelings.
After taking the time to process how you feel about the new situation, you will begin to shift away from focusing on what you’ve lost and begin to move towards what’s new.
Although you may be reluctant to accept this new circumstance, you can begin your journey towards acceptance by looking at the positive aspects.
The final stage of coping and reacting to change is fully accepting your new circumstances. This means that you’re moving on, but with the memories, relationships, and knowledge you’ve previously obtained.
Tips on Facing the New Normal
With restrictions beginning to lift and society starting up again, we are being introduced to a new way of living.
But what exactly does this “new normal” entail? How do we cope with this change?
The first step in accepting this new way of life is to learn what you can and cannot do with the restrictions in place.
After learning about what activities are allowed to open, create a new routine. Having a routine can provide you with a sense of normalcy during these chaotic times.
You can substitute activities like going to the gym with at-home workouts or brunch with friends with takeaway and zoom calls.
Social distancing does not mean disconnecting from society altogether. Even though it may feel easier to just stay at home and disengage from social interactions, you can still connect with family and friends in different ways.
Taking walks around the neighborhood with a friend (staying six feet apart of course) can greatly boost your mood and make you feel less isolated from society.
If going outdoors is not an option, or if you don’t feel safe doing so, many social media platforms are available to help you connect with friends and family.
Most importantly, give yourself a break! We are currently living in unprecedented times, so allow yourself to take things one moment at a time.
Set realistic goals and expectations for yourself, even if that means completing tasks at a slower pace than you normally would.
Counseling Can Help You Cope With the New Normal
It can be hard adjusting to change, especially if this change was big and unexpected.
If you feel you’re struggling with coping with the “new normal”, counseling or therapy may offer you a reprieve.
Our professional counselors at Capital Choice are here to help you through these chaotic times.
Get in touch with us to learn more about your services and find your counselor today!