The ‘New Normal’
Many people will have spent weeks and months adjusting to a new way of living as the COVID-19 pandemic led to ‘lockdowns’ around the world. We all were told to ‘stay home’ and almost overnight our whole lives changed… things we took for granted were taken away and we had to negotiate an entirely new world.
The streets were quiet, shops, restaurants and bars were closed, our entertainment and arts centres closed their doors, gyms went dark, social distancing became the norm… our homes became our everything and simply, ‘going out’ whether it was for a walk, or a run, or to the supermarket was no longer the easiest thing in the world but something to consider and do only if necessary.
Thankfully several countries are now reporting they have moved past the peak of infections and lockdown restrictions are gradually beginning to ease and businesses are reopening. It is as if the world is waking up, albeit slowly. Many elements of lockdown are still in place (e.g. social distancing, masks), but we are taking some tentative first steps back to a ‘new normal’. I heard a lot of people say, at the beginning of this journey- that the last place to open after lockdown will be us … our minds- and I think there could be truth in that.
Everyone has their own lockdown story- everyone has been affected in one way or another by this pandemic, it is a shared experience with the vast majority of the world! But the impact on each individual’s life is totally unique. So how can you get your life back on track after lockdown? I was inspired by an article I read by Michel Faucher, ‘Getting Life Back on Track After Lockdown’ and I started to consider my own good and bad habits and what my ‘new normal’ may look like.
Accepting the ‘New Normal’
Much of the global media focus when restrictions were first put in place was on when people would be able to get back to ‘normal life’. However, in recent weeks it has become increasingly clear that we must instead accept a ‘new normal’, at least for the time being. That in itself is scary, and has been met with resistance … the world seems to be so different and with no ‘end date’ we simply do not know how long this ‘new normal’ will last- and that notion in itself is hard to come to terms with.
Michel Faucher explains, that at first, ”we may find it challenging to adapt, particularly from a mental health perspective, but there are two key points we need to accept which will help make the transition period easier. First, any restrictions that remain in place are there to protect your health and the wider global community, helping to save lives. Second, view this ‘new normal’ as a staging post on a journey back towards what life was like before the pandemic.”
It may not feel like it, but we have the power to embrace this time, work together and return to life – with a renewed sense of appreciation and care – even if it looks a little different. It is completely normal to feel anxious about certain things that didn’t bother you before, such as going on day trip, a holiday, going back into shops, being in a crowded place. This is a perfectly normal reaction and remember that your ‘new normal’ might be different from everyone else’s. If being under lockdown has made you re-assess your life and what you do with your time, view this as a positive time to take steps to live life the way you want to, going forward!
Keeping Up New-Found Good Habits…
Lockdown has been tough for the majority of us. Yet for many people, it was also an opportunity to break the cycle and potentially adopt new habits and behaviours, learn a new skill, or take up a new hobby.
Getting your like back on track might mean you suddenly find yourself busy again with little free time in your diary. However, try to maintain some of the positive habits from lockdown, whether that be making time for exercise or cooking healthy meals at home. Keep these up, and you will reap the rewards long-term. You can even involve your friends and family in your newfound healthy habits!
My Good Habits
We are so lucky to live in the city centre, and we have so many beautiful walks on our doorstep. We have really enjoyed our daily walks, by Norwich Cathedral, through the city or by the river. A couple of favourite spots are Kett’s Heights and Marriott’s Way.
I will be honest, before lockdown I loved to cook- so what is different? Well, during lockdown – Husband and I got to cook more together, and we started planning out meals and with him in the kitchen I have been braver, so we have made some beautiful meals. I would like to hold onto that bravery and even when ‘life returns’ and I find myself eating dinner alone more often, I want to keep making beautiful meals – even if its just for one!
Supporting Local Business
Supporting local businesses has been a great thing to come out of lockdown, again we are spoilt for choice in Norwich. So many amazing local and independent businesses that have needed our help over lockdown and have given such rewards. We had a wonderful afternoon a few weeks ago, streaming The Joe Ringer Band as they performed a socially distance gig in Joe’s garden- a donation made and over two hours of great music in our living room! My review last month of Little Pie Patisserie and their sensational Vegan Afternoon Tea Boxes remains one of my stand-out lockdown memories.
I think this maybe a big part of the ‘new normal’ but I have loved it! You get to support local businesses, see friends and family and build up confidence in ‘going out’. We really enjoyed Harry’s Vegan Burgers, which we had picnic-style in Chapelfield Gardens from their takeaway hatch. Harry’s is situated in Chapelfield Gardens itself and serve meat and vegan burgers with all the trimmings, including amazing dirty fries. While their restaurant is open now, eating alfresco in the gardens was brilliant. Similarly, we ventured out for our first pub visit this weekend and went to local Brewers Redwell in Trowse. They have opened their Beer Garden and The Vault are serving delicious pizza’s (meat and vegan) to go with Redwell’s moorish vegan friendly beer.
I have been really focused over lockdown to try and write more regularly, my journal collection has grown, and I feel more disciplined than ever. I have really enjoyed Michelle Obama’s guided journal Becoming, it is great to be led when you aren’t sure what to write, and she has helped me revisit some happy memories as well as work through some difficult ones. I will make sure to maintain this motivation as lockdown eases.
Leave Behind the Bad Habits
In contrast there will be some of us who may have fallen into bad habits during lockdown. If lockdown saw you eating more comfort food or your exercise regime became harder- getting back to it might be hard. The best thing to do is start over, let go and do not be too hard on yourself. You can quickly re-adopt your good habits and this will be easier as lockdown eases. Just don’t try to do too much at once, simply start small and take it one step at a time!
Getting Life Back on Track After Lockdown
”Getting our lives back on track after lockdown will be both exciting and daunting for many of us. While we will find ourselves needing to embrace new ways of living and working, it’s important to stay positive and view the lifting of lockdown as one step on the road back to how we wish to live.
Whatever lockdown was like for you, embrace the opportunities getting back on track will give us, and focus on what you need to do, to ensure you can continue to live life to the full.”
And above all else…