• Elaine Zito

Embracing a New Normal

The pandemic of Covid-19 is truly a crazy time in our lives. None of us could have predicted going through something so monumental that would upend our normal routine. We don't know how long these circumstances will last, and therefore have to adapt to the changes. For many this looks like; losing a job, working from home, homeschooling children, rationing food and supplies, and not being able to go out into the world. Trips have been cancelled, graduation's postponed, schools closed for the rest of the year, and life as we know it has come to a halt. Our day-to-day has been tossed upside down and now we are trying to figure out how to put the pieces back together. It's scary, crazy, and somewhat exciting. Here's my tips for embracing a new normal so that you can get through Covid-19 in one piece:

1. Take it one day at a time: In my head I usually plan out my life weeks in advance. I like to stick to schedules and know what I have to look forward to. With this pandemic, we don't even know what tomorrow will look like. More businesses are closing each day, new bills are being passed, and cities are mandating lockdowns. Because of this, we are unable to predict our future. We can no longer plan to go to social gatherings or events. Everyone is on the edge of their seats waiting to see what happens next. It feels very frustrating to not feel in control of plans. The only thing we can do is take a step back from the bigger picture and take it one day at a time. If we focus our energy and efforts on our daily tasks, we will feel more productive and satisfied. A narrow scope allows our brains a sense of normalcy. Lets get through today and we will worry about tomorrow when it comes. You got this.

2. Try and rebuild what was broken down: For the first week and a half of my new normal with no job, and no idea of what life would look like, I was excited to have the free time. It was a forced vacation that I was here for. But after awhile, I started to feel anxious because nothing was getting better. I can't just sit around and wait for things to go back to normal. I would lose so much money and motivation that would set me back months of savings. I decided I needed to try and rebuild what I had lost. For me this looked like finding some kind of income and a new routine. For starters, my husband and I work in south Florida in the winter during the snowbird tourism season. We go back up north to Virginia Beach for the summer season. We both lost our jobs mid March. Season in Florida usually ends after Easter. We waited around for two weeks to see what would happen with the economy, to find out that it only got worse. There is no going back to our jobs in Florida, due to season pretty much being cancelled. Therefore, the only thing to do is to go back north. While season in Virginia Beach may take awhile to pick up, we know we will be living there for the next part of our life. Being settled will give a sense of stability. The next thing to rebuilding our life is finding new jobs. We don't know when the restaurant industry will return as a lucrative income, so we started applying to other careers. While the income will be less than what we're used to, we will at least be creating routine and structure again. We don't know how long this pandemic will last, so my advice is don't sit around and wait. Take action to rebuild a new normal. Who knows, you may even like it better than your past.

3. Get creative: Whether you are now the teacher of your children or are out of work and have nothing to do, the best thing to do is to get creative. Whether it's finally starting that blog you've been thinking about, doing kid yoga during"PE class", or finding ways to make supplemental income, this is the time we get to explore our passions and interests. Who knows, maybe you'll find a new hobby or way to earn a living. If you don't know what to do or try, write down a list of all the things you enjoy doing. Mine looked like: writing, designing, creating content, planning, colorful pens, being relatable, self empowerment, journaling, making lists, and dreaming about my future. Over the years that turned into this blog. Sometimes you just need to jot down all of your ideas to come up with something worth spending your time on. You can also read books or listen to podcasts to learn about new things/hobbies.

4. Appreciate the time with your loved ones: "The days are long, but the years are short." This is a quote I constantly hear from mothers. Time is a thief but right now we have a lot of it. Yes we may want to kill each other at certain parts of the day, but I'm sure in six months we will look back and miss all the time we had with the ones we love. Embrace the simple things that you normally miss because you're at work or in carpool or running errands. Play more games, read more books, get on the floor and roll around. The memories will never go away, so take the chance to make them while you can.

5. Be thankful and grateful: There are many things to be negative and depressed about. But when you put into perspective how we're living now, and how many people live worse than this everyday, it gives a sense of humbleness and gratitude. Lost your job? Good thing the government is going to send us checks to help get us by. Can't pay your mortgage? Luckily you don't have to until things clear up. Have to homeschool your kid? Be thankful for the teachers that normally do it for you, and the educational resources you have access to on the daily. Postponed a wedding or event? It's not the date that matters, it's the love and relationships that will show up no matter when it happens. We have so much to be grateful for. You just have to flip the switch and think about the positive to your negative. If you don't already, I highly recommend getting a journal and writing down five things you're grateful for everyday. It slowly creates a better habit for positivity and happiness.