The New (NOT) Normal
For anyone who has faced a crisis, the term "new normal" is often mentioned. The funny thing is that during times of crisis, nothing is normal. During our family's crisis, there was nothing normal about my son's weekly blood work and the fear of not finding a vein or waiting to see if my other children could save their brother's life. There was nothing normal about having hand sanitizer bottles all around my home or limiting how many people could walk through my door. The hardest part of this time was the unknowns.
- How long will you have to live like this?
- Do you really have to live in a bubble?
- How sick is he?
- When can you just get back to "normal"?
These awkward conversations were exhausting and isolating. It was enough to know my son might not live, but to address these questions without clear answers was so lonely and isolating.
Even though this time of "social distancing" may not be as much of a crisis for some, it has many of the unknowns my family faced. People often don't have a choice as to what might happen with their jobs. Parents are being stretched to now teach their children at home or care for a loved one who can't risk exposure. Students and teachers are being asked to learn a new way of learning without any clue as to what their next days and months might look like. This is totally new "not normal" and it's ok to not be ok.
Monitor and Adjust
During our "new not normal" time we had to discover our own pathway to peace in our lives. We had to learn how to say no to things that could hurt our family or our son. We had to limit our exposure to large crowds while listening for the softest sniffle or cough in a restaurant. In the beginning, we were hyper-vigilant in our life of survival. Feelings of survival often match emotions of worry and anxiety. These feelings can be monitored and controlled. They shouldn't be ignored.
It's important to avoid labeling this time as "good" or "difficult" when it might simply just be new and unknown. It's ok to feel frustrated. In most areas of life when we are learning and growing we fall and make mistakes. During my student teaching experience, my cooperating teacher taught me how to monitor and adjust. She said, "You can create the best lesson plan and find it was great with two classes and bad with three. That simply means while you're teaching, you monitor the students and adjust your approach." I have found these words of wisdom to be foundations of hope in my life. When I try a new recipe or walk a different route, I need to monitor and adjust.
Here are a few guided questions to help you navigate your new not normal life:
What areas in your life feel like you're surviving?
What are some things you can do daily to navigate your new normal?
What are three things you can remind yourself to allow your hope to rise again?