Getting settled and comfortable in the ‘new normal’

Getting settled and comfortable in the ‘new normal’

By: Tanja Williams

The past few months have been pretty unique, don’t you think? The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted us all in one way or another.

It has been extremely uncertain, for some at times, even frightening, with an invisible danger that can’t be seen or heard hanging relentlessly over us. On the other hand it has provided us, across most of the world, with a moment of silence, an opportunity to rethink, review and reflect.

For most, it has taken some time to adjust. All our lives have changed from one day to the next and things that were an absolute given, all of a sudden became an impossibility. We couldn’t meet with friends, couldn’t do our jobs the way we always had, and we could not move around freely in the way we were used to. In other words, we had to change a great deal, in a very short space of time, and it really has been a mental challenge.

As that the world slowly opens up some restrictions, there will be new ways that we approach people, that we do exercise or study, amongst many other things. But how do we settle into the post-pandemic ‘new normal’?

These are our top 5 tips to stay content and ease into this new way of being, whatever that might look like:

Positive thinking
Sometimes (or frequently) easier said than done, but so rewarding. Don’t let negative thoughts define you or your actions. It has been a long struggle already, but please hang in there, it’ll be worth it! Try and take the positives out of the situation. Maybe make a list of whatever is better in your life since it has changed, back in the early part of this year, and you might realise that it hasn’t all been bad. I have on my list for example, little things such as I’m cooking a lot more with garlic now, which I absolutely love, and without disturbing too many people with an unpleasant smell! You might want to put on your list that your apartment has been decluttered, or that you have made friends with your neighbours, who you never knew before. Everything counts. Start your list today with a smile on your face and a steaming cup of coffee (or a chilled glass of wine) in front of you.

We all know that feeling, that everything is just getting a bit too much. Please do not be afraid to close a door behind you for a moment and let the world turn a few minutes without you being present. Put on your favourite music, or sit in silence, whatever you need right in that moment. I love to put dancing music on full blast and just shake everything out of my body. It is incredibly therapeutic, especially if you know the lyrics and you sing along out of the top of your lungs. However, silence can be just what you need in this often loud and constantly available world. Don’t be scared to tell your loved ones that you need a minute with no disturbance. Take a break now and again, take a deep breath and find your way slowly back to the here and now.

The value of regular exercise has been proven in countless studies, so I do not want to bore you with the obvious benefits for your health, both physically and mentally. During the strictest part of the lockdown, my running routes were the only time that I would spend in the fresh air, not having a garden and so not easily being able to just sit outside in the sun. Exercise also gives me the time to think about absolutely nothing, or come up with new ideas, it enables me to go through my day in my head and come up with something nice to cook for example. Just very small things, but that is exactly the point. Let your mind wander and let your body do the work for an hour a day. Over time your body will become stronger and your mind will become more relaxed. Men sana in corpore sano: A healthy mind lives in a healthy body.

When we socialise we learn that we are not the only ones struggling with things. It is sometimes really important to listen to others to get an alternative and often healthy perspective on what’s concerning us. Friends are the family that we have chosen, and we tend to attract ‘our tribe’, one that we can learn from and share our thoughts and problems with. Socialising is such a good playground for your soul. Volunteering is also a great way to socialise, to do something useful, and give back to the community. Maybe you can find something that interests you, gives a little to someone else and enables you to make new friends along the way. Positive interaction like this, is like a massage for the soul.

Eat and drink well
There is a saying, ‘you are what you eat’ and it is so very true. When my mum asked me a few years back what she can change regarding her nourishment in order to lose a little weight, I only gave her three things to consider, and I think they will also take you a long way in the current circumstances:

  • Eat fresh (or as fresh as possible)
  • Drink water (as much as you can)
  • Get fresh air and sunshine (also as much as you can, but use sunscreen!)

I have a fortnightly fruit and veg box delivered and it’s great. It forces me to eat a certain amount of vegetables, but it also teaches me about local and seasonal produce. I find it really interesting. I’m now dreaming of a garden to grow my own fruit and veg.

The pandemic is far from over and we might have to keep adjusting, in one way or another, for an unpredictable amount of time. Please do not lose your positive spirit. Take it as an opportunity, and a way to grow…

And of course, take a break or exercise in some beautiful Buddha Pants. :)

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