Help! I Don’t Know What ‘Normal’ Is Anymore
It’s perfectly normal not to know what normal is anymore!
You are not alone in feeling a bit distracted and discombobulated. It’s something I have noticed, with my clients, my friends, and with myself. Things are feeling topsy-turvy.
Here are some of my ‘covid crazy‘ confessions:
- Memory? What memory. How many times have I gone into another room only to forget what I was going to get. My dog doesn’t even bother coming to the door anymore when I head out to the car because she just knows I’ll come back any second to pick up something I’ve forgotten!
- My emotions often seem to be closer to the surface these days. An act of kindness, a soppy advert, a moment of beauty can bring tears to my eyes. And selfish behaviour can upset me in a nanosecond.
- It feels strange to be socialising again, and I often end up saying something awkward. It’s almost as if I’ve forgotten how to be natural, and yet in the past I was always very comfortable in social situations.
- Following on from that, how do we know when to hug or not to hug? How close to stand to someone? Everyone’s comfort zones around space and physical contact are so different now.
- I am a naturally patient person, but there are days when I get frustrated by the smallest thing. It is as if I don’t have the emotional space I used to, perhaps because I’ve exhausted so much of it on adapting to ever-changing situations.
- I seem to have become an online shopper. I used to love going into stores, meet actual people, touch fabrics. For so long now that either wasn’t safe or possible. The problem with online shopping is the stores never close, and when one place doesn’t have what you’re looking for it can always be found elsewhere. And tell me about those rabbit-holes that you can go down, lose huge chunks of time and then end up purchasing a little something at check-out that you’ll never use in order to get free shipping! Can anyone else relate?
- Have people suddenly become crazy when behind the wheel of a car? You have to have your wits about you driving anywhere, and the patience of a saint. It is enough to fray anyone’s nerves.
So What Can We Do To Rebalance?
I don’t have the answer, but I do have four suggestions that have helped me.
- Connect, connect, connect. Perhaps the biggest impact the last 20 months of surviving the pandemic has had is isolation. For some, especially the elderly, the isolation has been devastating. Never before has it been more important to reach out to family, friends, our community whether it’s in person, a call, FaceTime/Zoom, or a letter. Not only will it life your spirits, but theirs too.
- Small gestures. What I mean by this are the seemingly inconsequential things that we can add in to our day that have a huge impact. Remember ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul’? Popping some change into an expired parking meter for a stranger. Leaving a note in a kid’s lunch bag to brighten up their day. Picking up and disposing of a bit of garbage on the street or the park, as opposed to silently cursing the person who littered. (Who knows, that mask may have fallen out of someone’s pocket by mistake.)
- Nurture. It doesn’t matter if you focus your nurturing on a person, a pet or a plant. Even tending to a pot of herbs on your windowsill can calm your nervous system and boost your happy hormones.
- Ground yourself. Take a breath. Feel your feet connecting to the ground beneath you. Touch something. Look around you. Notice if there is a scent in the air. Reconnect with the moment and that sense of gratitude for simply being alive.
I would love to hear either how you have been affected, or any tips you might have to rebalance.
In the mean time go easy on yourself and others. Things are strained out there. We need to give ourselves and each other a break.