THE NEW NORMAL: HOW LIFE HAS CHANGED DUE TO COVID-19 Tips for coping with mental health during coronavirus COVID-19 anxiety worry, unpredictability. Change is difficult to adjust to and especially when it rips apart all our lifestyles, belief systems and any kind of certainty we could have had about the way we live and the place we live in. Over the past few months, we’ve experienced an unprecedented shift in our way of life due to COVID-19. Pre-pandemic, where a trip to do a weekly grocery shop, seems like an adventure of its own! Before we know it, we’ve (reluctantly) let go of our old normal and now settling into what seems to be our new normal. And who knows if this has come to stay. With the fundamental shifts in our life here are some tips on how to adjust to the New Normal. ACCEPTANCE: ALLOW YOURSELF TO GRIEVE THE “OLD” NORMAL It is very human to miss the old ways it is easy to feel a sense of loss. Throw in a pandemic, along with changes to routines and plans for the weeks and months ahead in 2020, and it’s more important than ever to acknowledge the challenges and difficulties that we face in light of COVID-19. Yes, there will be denial, anger, maybe even depression and acceptance, as we pivot and adjust to our new normal (whatever form it may take). But it’s important to give yourself time to grieve what you have lost. Once you’ve allowed yourself to grieve, there will be more space to start embracing your New Normal. YOGA LIFESTYLE – CREATE A NEW ROUTINE If you have been thinking to start yoga this is the opportune time to adapt to a yoga lifestyle. Make a routine. Having a routine can help create some sense of normalcy during the time of chaos, so get creative so that you can continue on in some way: No longer able to go to the gym? Go online with home-based programs that can be done with little or no equipment. Start with some yoga stretching, twisting and turning, Adarak and natural herbal tea are great to protect yourself. Missing your coffee at work? Make your own at home (latte art optional), and be sure to enjoy it mindfully before checking your emails. If you Cannot connect on regular brunch catch-ups at your local with friends you can connect via Zoom. Above all, be flexible when it comes to finding your new routine…let’s remember that these are challenging times and maybe here to stay for a while. WRITING: JOURNAL YOUR EXPERIENCE A great help is your confessional diary about your experience – be it your thoughts, feelings, what you’ve done, anything! – can be quite therapeutic and a great chronicle to look back on long after COVID-19 has passed. Whilst a default during these times may be to focus on the coronavirus chaos, do record things that makes you feel better by taking a gratitude approach (see the prompts in Point 1 in this article). GRATITUDE: INNER SPACE IN THE EXTERNAL Mostly at home With much of your life now happening between four walls, having a designated space at home to work or study or meditate can help maintain boundaries between work and play. Take it one step further and dress to get into the right frame of mind…it can be challenging to whip up the motivation to meet a deadline when you’re in your pyjamas the entire day. STAY IN TOUCH I find I am connecting more at this time. Social distancing does not mean social disconnecting In the new normal you can still connect with family and friends – just in different ways! It does take a bit of creativity though when we can’t do a lot of the things that we previously did. INNER JOY INNER PEACE: POSITIVE VIBES ONLY Keep smiling l8ke I am making it w habit to smile behind the mask. Celebrate anything that puts a smile on your face, large or small. Made a nice cup of tea this morning? Great! Walked your dog today? Awesome! Saw a funny meme on social media? Go ahead and chuckle! I found Positive Psychology can help you find the feel-good factor during these challenging times? TAKE IT EASY TAKE A BREAK Enjoying the silence could be a tricky thing but hey! Worth a try. You are allowed to take things one moment at a time! We may not know what the next minute, or even the next hour, will bring. Set yourself a realistic goal and allow yourself to adjust it when you need to. Remind yourself that we’re currently living in extraordinary times, so give yourself some grace during moments like these: With everyone at home now it may be more difficult to keep the house tidy, so adjusting expectations about housekeeping may be more helpful rather than stressing out about having to clean every minute. Between working from home, homeschooling the kids, and doing continuous food preparation throughout the day, there may be days when you have no energy left to cook dinner. So consider ordering takeaway (and support your local café or restaurant!) or Ireheating some frozen food. Now is the time to be human and to ask for help.YKe it easy takes it at a time. Some tips that can help you stay afloat in these challenging times.