How do we cope with the new normal?
The year so far has been unlike any other in our lifetime.
There has been a lot of change and heartache across the world. For some, this has sadly meant the loss of loved ones, dealing with illness, worries over employment, finances and the future, as well as newfound anxieties about completing what were once considered everyday activities.
So as the world begins to return to what has been described as “the new normal”, how do we begin to process what has happened over the last few months? What effects have these events had on our mental health and our perception of the future?
Firstly it’s worth emphasising that these are extraordinary times. If you are feeling overwhelmed, low, stressed, or find that you’re not acting like yourself, this is a perfectly normal reaction to what we have all been experiencing.
Don’t be hard on yourself for not doing all the things you used to, or you’re not behaving the way you usually do. What is important is that you stop to assess whether any of the thoughts or behaviour changes you have identified could be affecting your emotional wellbeing in a negative way.
Here are 3 important steps you should take at the earliest opportunity (if you feel able to):
#1 Think about the level of social media and news you are consuming
Could this be affecting your thoughts? How do you feel when you’re taking part in these activities?
While we can’t ignore what’s going on around us, over-exposure to negative news stories or social media posts can leave us feeling overwhelmed or emotionally drained.
Consider setting yourself a small window of time to check the headlines every day, and take advantage of the social media features on Instagram and Facebook that allow you to monitor how much time you are active.
#2 Try to build a bit of structure into your day where you can
With uncertainty comes the need to retain some sense of normality, no matter how small this may be.
This could mean ensuring you go for a walk at a certain time of day, scheduling calls with a friend or family member once a week, or planning healthy meals at the weekend. If you’re working from home, try to get outdoors (while observing all social distancing advice) or complete some alternate form of exercise on your lunch break where possible.
#3 Don’t be afraid to get help if you need it
Therapy is a great way to talk through how you’re feeling. It helps us set small, manageable goals and learn tools and techniques to cope with our negative thoughts and behaviours.
If you’re reading this and you live in South Essex, we offer a wide range of free talking therapies. These can take place over the phone, on a video call or through a dedicated messenger platform. Alternatively, you can directly access our online video courses covering several challenges that may affect our mental health, both in this new environment and beyond.
For more information, get in touch with our team today. Remember, as the world prepares for “the new normal”, it’s important to believe that things can and will get better. Take small steps to improve the quality of each day and seek out help if you need it.