Your New Normal

Your New Normal

Last week, I met a friend for coffee.  Later that day, I ran a few errands and even stopped by TJ Maxx. My daughter and I scheduled pedicures in a nearby town. Other than the face masks people were wearing, things were starting to feel “normal” again.

This week, stores are closing for a second time. Until a solution for the Corona Virus is discovered, this may keep happening. The progress of returning to normal vanished as soon as businesses close their doors. After our pedicures, the salon was also shutting down, but at least we had that one last pampering before we shelter in place again.

It is time to accept that this is the new normal and we must embrace it.

It occurred to me that I hadn’t exercised for several weeks. I was waiting for the gym to reopen. Each week, I think that surely next week it will open again. Guess what? It is still closed and now it has been months! I realized I needed to figure out new ways of doing things instead of waiting for “normal” to return.

Create a new plan – I took a look at how my life was and how I can still do the same things, but in a different way.

1. Exercise at home

Going to the gym most days was part of my routine. I used the weight machines and then ran on the elliptical. Since I don’t have access to the gym, I took a look at what equipment I do have at home. Now, I use my free weights and for the first time, I ran outside. I loved it! Running in the open air is really good for the soul. This is something I would not have tried because I am much more comfortable in the gym.

2. Meal plans delivered

I enjoy going out for lunch with friends. I love sitting outside and making a meal last with good company and a tasty dish. Since this is not available right now, I started getting meals delivered and I cook at home. I had to try several companies before I found one I love, but now I look forward to my food box. I am learning little tips about cooking and trying dishes I probably wouldn’t have experienced on my own.

3. Make income from home

So many people are financially struggling right now because they are unable to work. This is not a situation that I want to be in so I had to shift the way I want to do my business. My new partner and I are turning our business from a face-to-face service to an online one. I am so excited about this because if another outbreak occurs, we will still be able to work.

Stay social – After shelter in place protocols began, I shut myself inside for about three weeks. But my emotions started to take a toll on my well-being, and I knew I couldn’t do handle many more days inside. I had to make a change.

1. Walk daily

I started to take a long walk every day. Having a dog helps and she benefited as well. (I think it was taking a toll on her too!) Getting outside every day breaks up the monotony of being indoors.

2. Zoom call or facetime with friends

A phone call is great on most occasions, but when you are able to see someone’s face, you almost feel as though you are in the same room. It is a wonderful way to feel connected to the people that are important to you. The isolation disappears and you know you are not alone.

3. Plan picnics

Another way to stay connected with those who live nearby is to have a picnic. You can practice social distancing while enjoying a meal together. It is amazing how just a few hours outdoors with family or friends can uplift your spirit.

Keep my sanity – The seclusion of being at home day after day, gives us extra time to think (maybe too much time), to worry, or to experience anxiety. In order to take care of myself emotionally, I started to practice some daily habits.

1. Daily self-care

Each day I choose something I will do to take care of myself. It could be painting my nails, or taking a bubble bath, or reading a book. Self-care isn’t complicated. It is just making yourself a priority, without guilt, to do something nice for you.

2. Journal each morning

I was not a journaler. (Is that a word?) I joined this online group and each day we journaled and posted it. Somedays I did not post because it was too personal, but the point is that I was held accountable to journal every single day. Some days, nothing exciting was written, but other days, I was surprised by how much I was learning about myself through this daily process.

3. Learn a new hobby

This is a great time to experiment with different hobbies. Find something you enjoy doing or making besides work. Try something new. There are so many online classes available through Creative Bug, You Tube, or LinkedIn Learning. You might even be able to make a new business for yourself.

Changing my perspective on our new “normal” has helped me to embrace and accept what is happening instead of resisting it. The stress and anxiety are lessened, and I am now able to move forward in the best way I can. I am creating new routines to fit my new way of life and it is okay. Hopefully, some of our old ways will return, but in the interim, make your current life the best it can be.

Featured photo by Sarah Kilian on Unsplash.

Rough Times

Rough Times

I recently came across a little card that I wrote to myself that said, “I choose happy!” I started to cry, ironically, because it brought back the memory of why I wrote this note. At that time, I was struggling to get out of bed in the morning and getting through the day was difficult. I thought my world had ended and I felt sad every single day. So, I wrote my note, “I choose happy!” as a reminder that I can choose to wake up with a different mindset and give myself a break from the sadness I was feeling. It helped me get through those difficult days and today, I still make the choice each morning to “choose happy!”

Finding that little note was a reminder to myself that I had made it through one of the most difficult challenges I would ever face.

Nobody likes going through difficult times. Whether the difficulty is because of health, relationships, career, or loss, these rough times we face can be so challenging. When we are first presented with the issue we are about to face, our first reaction is to resist it, fight it, and try to prevent it from happening. We do not want to have to deal with the struggle and yet in reality, there is nothing we can do to stop it from happening. I wish there was a magic cure, but there is no shortcut to the pain we are about to face.

I personally was faced with a life altering challenge about three years ago. I do not want to go into details because of how it may affect some of the people in my life. What I will share, is how I got through it. And no matter what you are facing right now, you will get through it. How you do this will depend on choices you make along the way. I decided from the onset of my challenge that I would become stronger and better than I was before it started. I would like to share ten things that helped me in the hopes that it will help you too.

  1. One day at a time; one step at a time. “Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations.” When faced with a challenge, we want the quick fix. Take the pain away. But the process of recovery isn’t that simple. Slow down and just get through the day. Tomorrow do the same. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
  2. Remind yourself that what you are going through will eventually pass. Time is a healer and the hurt will lesson more and more each day. “Tough times never last. Tough people do.” There are more rainbows in your future.
  3. Read articles about your specific challenge. Get tips to help you wherever you can. Search, “how to overcome . . .”
  4. Keep a journal. Write about your good days and your bad days. Keep track of your little victories along the way. Make lists of what helps you feel better. Write about why you are grateful.
  5. Accept what is happening to you. This doesn’t mean you have to like it or agree with it. Just stop resisting. When I was pregnant with my first son, my birthing instructor said, “Labor is going to hurt. If you fight against it, it will hurt worse. So, lesson the pain by accepting that it is happening.”
  6. Make yourself visual reminders. I hung positive quotes, sayings, and pictures all over my apartment. Everywhere I looked, I had something staring me in the face to encourage me to keep my chin up. I also made myself a flip book of positive affirmations that I keep on my desk.
  7. Appreciate your friends and family. “Hard times will always reveal true friends.” I would not have made it through without the people around me. My sisters especially really supported me in a way that I could never repay them. Take the time to appreciate your support system.
  8. Ask yourself what you can learn from this experience. “Forget what hurt you, but never forget what it taught you,” Shannon Alder. Be a life learner and see this difficulty as a way for you to grow. Try to find the opportunities within the difficulty. It will change you so make it a good change.
  9. Be aware of the good days. Celebrate the days that you feel wonderful. I remember that as time passed, I would have more good days each week. Eventually, I stopped tracking my good days because the bad days occurred less and less.
  10. Allow yourself the space to heal. Sometimes there is no reason why this happened to you, it just did. There are no answers to your questions that will help. Forget the blame, forget the guilt, let go of all the confusion in your head.

Remember, you are not alone in your struggle. Somewhere, someone is experiencing exactly what you are going through too. You will get through whatever it is you are facing. Decide to rise above it and not be defeated by it. Three years later, I can honestly say, “I am better because of it.” My difficulty made me a better person and I wouldn’t trade all of the life learning opportunities I had to face to avoid the pain I experienced. In a sense, it was worth it. Not all challenges will bring that result, so I am grateful to feel this way right now.

Nobody likes going through difficult times, but rest assured, things will get better and you will get through it. If you are at the beginning, middle, or end of your struggle, keep going. Here is a quote that helped me focus on the day I would feel better. “When life looks like it is falling apart, it may just be falling in place.” Beverly Solomon

Side note: I found all the quotes used in this article on google. Some of the sources were not mentioned and even after searching I could not find the author. I apologize for not being able to give proper credit.

Featured photo by 30daysreplay on Unsplash.