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Finding A New Normal

Hi friends! I'm Racheal Nye and I am so excited to be back as a guest blogger! In this post, I share a bit of what has helped me begin to navigate the new normal since the start of the pandemic. I hope you find these tips helpful!

I don’t think it really matters who you are, introvert or extrovert, the pandemic has had a massive impact on society and how people live. As restrictions have lifted, some people have gone back to rather normal lives: sporting events, large weddings, concerts and festivals etc. Yet, for many of us, it can be a bit frightening and stressful trying to figure out our new normal, or how to even decide what that means. I’m someone who has eased myself back into society, so I thought I’d share some of what has worked for me in the hopes it helps someone else.

1. Set boundaries. This can be tough, especially if someone else doesn’t understand your cautiousness. It’s okay to be cautious and set boundaries. For example, if I know someone has been sick or exposed to any sort of sickness, I wait a set amount of time before I see that person. I also ask people to inform me if they’ve been feeling under the weather so I can make that decision for me and my family. It’s okay if not everyone understands, because the boundaries are mine and help me feel safe. I think in general these would be good boundaries for me to set, and the pandemic has just reminded me to be more thoughtful with these boundaries.

2. Start small. I’ll specifically address going out in public. I personally didn’t have much reason to leave my house to begin with, and then not really being able to I almost began to feel like a shut in and going in public places made me so nervous. I went to places that brought me personal joy, like Target or Trader Joe’s, for a short period of time. Eventually that has led to going out to eat and seeing family and friends much more comfortably.

3. Be familiar with guidelines. If you’re traveling or going out to eat or even to the store, be familiar with the guidelines there. Different states and countries have different expectations, so knowing what they are can help limit some anxiety before it comes up.

4. More on boundaries. In our house, we made it a rule when someone came over, we were not going to discuss anything in relation to the pandemic. There are so many hot topics, we didn’t want to find ourselves in debate with friends and family, or raise anyone else’s anxiety. We would discuss our boundaries first and allow them to state theirs before coming over, and that would be it. Our goal in seeing friends and family is always to connect and enjoy each other’s company, not stress about the hardships of the world, so we’ve done our best to keep visits meaningful to our relationships.

5. Set up support! It’s ok if you need help working through what has been going on in the world. It’s a first for most of us, there has been an increase in the need for mental health support, and it is OK to ask for support to work through whatever has come up. My support has come from both therapy, other women who are in similar life circumstances, and my family. Trying to figure out what the new normal is can be confusing, and perhaps has not helped your mental health in any number of ways. Even though the pandemic may have left many of us feeling lonely (raises hand), we don’t have to face whatever hardships have come up alone. Help is available, so please reach out to someone if you need it.

This time is unprecedented for most of us, but we don’t have to go it alone. There are ways we can create comfort as we figure out our new normal, and support is available if people need it. You’re not alone, and we will get through this time together. I’ve struggled too, but I hope these tips help give a few ideas on how to begin to find our new normal.

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