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3 Tips on How to Adjust to the “New Normal” During the Corona Virus (COVID-19)

After weeks of news overload and discouraging statistics reflecting the impact of the Corona Virus, I want to understand and help my community understand how we might live and find meaning as we wait for an effective COVID-19 vaccine or treatment. As a licensed psychologist, here are my immediate thoughts:

  1. Continue operating out of a place of flexibility in your daily life. There is a definite sense of grief and loss as we have given up many of our traditions, relationships, and general ways of living. Typically, an individual can spend at least a year grieving after a major loss as they are passing through various anniversaries, life events, etc. that remind them of their different existence. I believe that the losses and changes that we are experiencing as a result of COVID-19 will be similar. Are there other workable solutions for your situation? Is there someone you can ask for help? If you find yourself worrying about something specifically (non-COVID), will that worry still be important 5 years from now?
  2. Dedicate regular time for relaxation. Relaxation and rest are important, but even more so now as the stress of our daily lives is reaching a new high. What are the advantages of relaxation? It can help you to feel more “grounded”. When calm, we can make better decisions. The relaxed mental state will allow you to be more tolerant, appreciative, and compassionate towards yourself and others. Lastly, relaxation can support physical health and wellness. Expert tip- be sure that the activity you choose really is relaxing, and not just numbing or distracting/avoiding.
  3. Consume less news and social media information/entertainment related to COVID-19 (and related politics!!). How do you find the balance between staying informed while not being consumed? Personally I know that I have been reading or watching more COVID-19 related news and social media updates relative to the general news I used to consume in the pre-COVID 19 world. I think that this is an important action step to consider because too much focus on COVID-19 news can interfere with finding calm for ourselves and our loved ones and hinder our abilities to move forward and find a new sense of “normal.”

I think it’s important to be thinking about these things and to be discussing what we hope for the “new normal,” and what we need to get “there”- that is within our control. Here’s a helpful article by respected cognitive behavioral psychologist and author Dr. Robert Leahy (New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center) with additional suggestions on how to adjust to “the new normal.” 

<3 Be well!

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