Adjusting to the “New Normal,” Part 1: Personal Adaptation

Life throws curveballs at us often, and the coronavirus pandemic is just another one of those curveballs. Whether it’s working from home, sacrificing a hug from a loved one, or expenses related to postponed life events, like vacations or weddings, we’re all doing with the New Normal in some way, shape, or form (not to mention that we’re all tired of hearing it referred to that way).  Humanity has always adapted to environmental stimuli; but as Churchill once said, “To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.” Here are some essentials to remember when you’re feeling corona-crazy:

It’s OK to feel down, and it’s OK to seek help.

All of us have weathered the chaos of the pandemic differently, and help with stress may seem out of reach given social distancing guidelines. These feelings are not rare; according to a recent poll conducted by the Henry Kaiser Family Foundation, “…nearly half (45%) of adults in the United States reported that their mental health has been negatively impacted due to worry and stress over the virus.” Some demographics may be eight times more likely to feel symptoms of mental illness than they were just two years ago. Some may even turn to self-medication with drugs and alcohol as a coping mechanism. Remember that seeking help is a sign of strength and almost always results in personal growth. If you’re exceptionally stressed and unsure how to navigate your feelings, the National Alliance for Mental Health has a 24/7 phone line open for you to seek advice; it’s totally non-judgmental and a great resource.

You can’t control everything.

For example, you can’t control if your vacation gets cancelled due to flight restrictions, if you get laid off, or if the unemployment office is taking its sweet time sending your check. However, you are in control of your budgeting, your breathing, and whether you choose to stay present or get lost in anxiety over the future. Whether or not you’re religious, think of the Serenity Prayer – it’s helpful: “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can… and the wisdom to know the difference.” In times of uncertainty, keeping focus on things you can control – taking care of your body, sleep habits, daily agenda and increased interaction with supportive people – is the best way forward. You can even try creating new routines for yourself; drink a cup of tea with lemon at the same time every day, watch your favorite show with dinner, or call a friend. Maintaining even a marginal sense of normalcy can go a long way.

And, finally, we’re all in this together.

There is something uniquely calming about experiencing hardship as a group. Maybe it’s the sense of belonging, maybe it’s being able to relate to one another, but solidarity tends to defeat adversity. If you can’t go visit your relatives, remember that there are millions of families in the same boat. If you can’t run at your favorite park, hundreds of counties across the country are in the same boat. Travel plans got busted? Same boat (this writer, specifically, is in that boat).

Chin up! We’ll be on the other side of this soon. And stay tuned for part two of this blog, where we’ll give you a third-month update on how the logistics industry is adapting to the pandemic as well.