As offices, schools, and homes re-open, we need the tools to plan out a future that resembles something closer to a new normal. A February 2022 poll shows most Americans are ready for things to return to “normal,” but are also unsure exactly what that will look like.
Job changes, school closures, and changing public health messages have taught us to expect rapid change. In an environment that makes planning difficult, here are a few suggestions for designing your new normal:
- Prepare for different educational milestones. Assume that educational attainment, social skills, capacity to focus, and endurance have changed. Be more gentle with yourself and others as you decide what educational goals are necessary while addressing complex social and economic needs.
- Equip your staff (including yourself) to notice and respond in supportive ways to mental health needs. This may be a good time to implement new policies and redefine your workplace values. The “we’ve always done it this way” excuse may not work when most of your team is new.
- Consider an intersectional culturally responsive approach to family and friends. The pandemic isn’t the only thing that many of us have lived through recently that’s caused anger and despair. Creating intentional space for expression is imperative for ongoing healing. Assess your therapy needs.
- Focus on building connections, whether that’s at home, in the office, at school, with yourself and your community. It’s ok to still not want to socialize and to not feel safe or happy in particular situations. Allow others to feel the same and know what to expect when you reach out for support.
- Conduct routine assessments. Changes and routines take time to develop and correctly assess. The excitement and enthusiasm that comes with the return to normalcy may mask vulnerabilities and challenges. Make sure to check in with yourself and others as you decide to take baby steps or giant leaps back into the world. Here is a COVID-specific worksheet and a decision flowchart to help you move forward.
Almost 20 percent of Americans quit their jobs last fall and a similar percent have reported symptoms of mental illness. Most job-changers now have more flexibility and reports show that telehealth therapy shows greater adherence levels.
Focus on well-being, look for new quality of life improvements, and create a smarter, more interconnected system for your life as you redefine your normal.
Cove can help you develop the skills and provide you with the tools you need to discover your new normal. We provide comprehensive mental health services with a focus on substance abuse and addiction disorders. If you have a young person or family member that you are concerned about, contact us today at www.covebh.org or call us 813-384-4000.