My New Normal

In the light of the COVID-19 Pandemic, I’ve settled into a New Normal, like many of us these days. This New Normal may last for a just a day or two or it may go on for weeks, we really have no way to know for sure.

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At the time I’m drafting this post, I have been telecommuting for just about two weeks now. Our company gave us the direction that, essentially, if you can work from home you should and I happen to have the type of office job that can be performed virtually if necessary.

A few days after I started telecommuting, we got word that all public and private schools would be closed until late April. Initially, my husband and I started strategizing about how we could cover home-schooling our kids and keep working at our jobs but, thankfully, we were able to find back-up care for the kids during this time. We live far away from family and so daycare and school are our primary childcare during working hours, like many working parents.

I’ve said before that I’m a fairly routine person. I find freedom in my routines, they provide a structure and sense of stability to my otherwise hectic life. And so, with this new “normal,” I’ve settled into new routines and taken on new perspectives.

It is one thing to study books and meditate on impermanence, it’s another thing to live it out in your daily life. I’ve experienced this before with the loss of my family members and in a way, going through that has prepared me for this pandemic and that preparation is helping me be a more compassionate leader at work and parent to my kids as we work our way through the day to day uncertainty. Each day brings new cancelations and closures, we really don’t know how long we will have reliable child care and so we just take things day by day.

Even our childcare is so different these days. There are health screenings and temperature checks for the kids at check-in and throughout the day. We aren’t allowed in the building at all anymore. We call before pickup and our children are brought out to us. Again, I count my blessings: my kids are young, they know this is different but they aren’t scared by it. It’s just their new normal as well.

I focus on the positive: I have a good, safe home, the ability to work from home and the ability to afford the services and items I need to support my family during this time. I’m 36 years old, my generation has never been through something like this on this scale but my history of retreat practice and even with group therapy have prepared me for this. I know that what’s important now is to find some sense of stability and community however we can. I host daily virtual tag-ups with my team and encourage them to share whatever they want or need to. We are quite fortunate to have the technology to meet virtually, even some of the fitness groups and therapists that my family and I work with have switched to virtual training and therapy.

My week days are spent working from home now. I still start my day each morning with meditation but I no longer work out first thing in the morning. Instead, I use short sessions of physical activity as a way to break up my days. My goal is still 30min of activity per day but now it’s spread out in shorter bursts. I have a pull-up bar in a doorway and make sure to get in a few reps every time I pass through. Once work is done, I get outside when I can, the fresh air helps me keeps my head clear.

I keep my diet as healthy and clean as I can. It may sound a bit strange but I’ve found that one way I can feel a sense of control in a chaotic world is to make healthy choices and keep up with my fitness and nutrition routines.

This is my new normal. Most of us in the United States are starting to settle in to some new routine, some new way of living. Who knows how long this will last? Personally, I’m mentally prepared for the long haul.

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