Is there a new normal yet?

At the beginning of the pandemic life as we knew it abruptly changed, with little time to mentally prepare for those changes.

Anytime there is change, it creates a new opportunity to define what “normal,” is for us. Many believe grief is only related to a person we care about who has passed away, but we can grieve anything we lose.  Early in the pandemic, many grieved the life we had before the pandemic, which impacted the mental health of many. 

Let’s look at the Kübler-Ross Grief Cycle to understand how we process grief. 

 

Am I stuck?

Thinking about how you processed the sudden changes we all experienced at the beginning of the pandemic, can you relate?

After looking at the picture, you may recognize you are stuck in one of the stages and it is affecting your mental health. Talking to a therapist can be very helpful. Nothing is wrong with you! Sometimes grief impacts us so deeply that we get stuck in one of the stages of grief.  There are things you can do to improve your mood.

  • Practice self-care – Things you can do to feel better overall.
    • Make sure you eat healthy meals and snacks and stay hydrated.
    • Get 7 – 9 hours of sleep every night. 
    • Do some sort of physical activity each day. 
    • Use mindfulness to get your brain to stay in the moment rather than the past and the future.  Here are some ways to do that.
      • Download the free app Insight Timer to your phone.  It has a large volume of guided meditations, a mood tracker, mindful music, and several other features. 
      • Practicing deep breathing. 
      • Do mindful activities, such as adult color books, jigsaw puzzles and art projects. Anything that helps your mind stay in the moment.
    • Make sure you do something fun as often as possible every week.
    • Make connections with others.
      • Friends and family who will listen without judgement.
      • Talk to a therapist who can help process how to get unstuck and coping strategies.  Call us today to make an appointment at 217-203-2008.

If you look at the picture and realize you are in the acceptance phase of grief you may still be struggling with wanting to go back to, “normal.” Normal being how things were before the pandemic. No matter how much we wish things to go back to normal, we likely will never return to exactly how things were. 

I get to decide what my new normal is?

Yes you do!  Not returning to the old normal does not have to be bad.  I encourage you to view this as an opportunity to create your own view of the new normal.  Below are some ways you can define your new normal, first recognizing how the pandemic affected you and then what you can do.

  • Family and friends – Were you physically separated from family and friends?
    • Find ways to spend time together. 
    • Take time to embrace the moment, appreciating everyone there.
    • Have everyone put their electronic devices away and really focus on time together. 
  • Job loss or financial hardship – Did the pandemic cause a financial strain?
    • Write down the lessons you learned along the way to overcome this hardship.
    • Think about how you can apply these lessons for future problems you may have to deal with.
    • Are there ways you can use your experiences to help others?
  • Uniting the community – Did the pandemic bring your community together?
    • Many in the community needed help during the pandemic.  Did you receive help or provide help?
    • Think about the experience of the community coming together to help each other.
    • If you liked that experience, make a list of other ways you can be more involved in the community.
  • Anything else you want to add to your new normal?
    • Take time to reflect on any other experiences during the pandemic you would like to add to your new normal.  

Use your list to decide what you want, “the new normal” to be. It can be better! 

Reach out to us today if you are stuck in the grief cycle or struggling identifying what your new normal is. Give yourself a break!  This is most likely the most impactful event we may experience in our lifetime. We can help your through this!  Call 217-203-2008 or email us to make an appointment.  

If you or someone you know is in crisis, here are some resources that you can use to help:

The National Suicide Hotline- 800-273-8255

The Crisis Text Line- Text HOME to 741741

The Rosecrance Crisis Line (central Illinois specific) 217-359-4141

If you are looking for a therapist, give us a call today at 217-203-2008 or send us an email.

Resources:

https://champaigncounseling.com/delta-disappointment/

https://champaigncounseling.com/tips-for-taking-control-of-your-sleep/

https://champaigncounseling.com/coping-toolkit/

https://www.brighamandwomens.org/covid-19/grieving-during-a-pandemic

https://www.verywellmind.com/understanding-grief-in-the-age-of-the-covid-19-pandemic-4801931