LEARNING TO ADAPT TO OUR NEW NORMAL WITH FLEXIBILITY, KINDNESS AND LOWER EXPECTATIONS
As the virus spreads fast throughout the globe and wreaks havoc, adapting to our new normal with flexibility, kindness, and lower expectations can make us feel more in charge and successful, under the circumstances.
“The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.” ― Albert Einstein
What a week! Trying to understand what is going on and navigating our “new normal” in this totally uncharted territory: shelter in place has been nothing we’ve seen before.
It is imperative that we all stay home in order to slow down the spread of the virus and flatten that curve. This particular virus is new and there is a lot of unknown, however, one thing we know for sure and it is that it spreads fast like a lightning bolt.
We’ve seen how other countries have had their medical system completely affected and taken over by the surge of sick people. Medical providers are exhausted and dealing with the lack of hospital beds, meds and respirators. Here in California, as with most of the country, we have shelter in place and are expected to stay home until told otherwise.
Staying at home and avoiding physical contact with others outside our household prevents the virus from spreading too fast and infecting too many people at once, which can completely exhaust our hospitals and our medical providers. Let’s think of them as we think of us!
Flexibility, kindness and lower expectations
However, staying home has shown to be harder than anyone could have ever expected. And that’s what I want to talk about today: the importance of adapting to this new normal, with flexibility, kindness and lower expectations.
Lowering our expectations
No, we are not homeschooling our kids, nor should we be expected to do so. Parents who homeschool their children have prepared for it. We have not! So, let’s lower our expectations and be supportive of our children, our schools and teachers.
We should also lower our expectations as far as work is concerned. You may not be able to accomplish everything you used to accomplish while working from your office. Be patient. You will find a new routine and it will get better. I’ve been working from home for years now, so this is my normal, but it is not the norm for most of my clients. This is what tell them:
Lower your expectations! Learn to adapt and be flexible. Be kind to yourself and others. We are all in this together!
Learning to be flexible
You may find it difficult to maintain focus while working from home right now. That’s because besides us being under a lot of stress with the constantly changing news – our brain in stress shuts down its learning centers making it difficult to learn things, make decisions, or focus.
Our brain is not used to working from home either! Trying to do the exact same things you did at work, while homebound, won’t work right now. Your brain has created a particular habit of you working from your office or classroom, and working from home creates initial confusion, translating into a lack of focus.
Being kind to ourselves and others
You need to figure out what works for your new normal and go with it. Start slow and add as you go, meaning, have fewer things in your to-do list. Don’t be hard on yourself, you are not slacking, you are not working less, you are doing the best you can under the circumstances. Your brain is just trying to adapt.
The same applies to those you work with: expect less from them. This is new territory for all of us! Teachers are not used to teaching from home. Children are not used to studying from home. Office workers are not used to working from home. We will have to figure out what works and what doesn’t and that means some trial and error, patience and kindness to self and one another.
The good news is that we will have a few weeks to practice. And better news, this won’t last long.
Find ways to connect with people
In my household, I’m letting my kids sleep in. They haven’t slept in for a long time and they need it, they are always busy and on the go. I’m allowing them, and myself too, to slow down, as much as needed right now. They must spend the mornings doing schoolwork, learning a new language, doing art, practicing dance or soccer, reading, working out, while I do my work as well. I make sure they are always connected with friends via facetime. Connection is important!
Usually, around noon, we go out on a long hike (usually 1hr plus). The Miwok trail is right behind our house. (Yes, I’m lucky that way!) The afternoon is fair game: they can watch TV, play video games, whatever. As long as they do 1 hour on, 30 minutes off, and so on. My son is in high school and he has schoolwork uploaded at lunchtime sometimes, but he gets it done, and then goes back to “playing”.
I do know of friends and clients whose schedules are totally different. Some are trying to keep a schedule very close to what they had before. It works for them. Others are taking a “staycation” and not doing much this week. It works for them!
Remember that THIS IS UNCHARTED TERRITORY for all of us. Figure out what works best for you and go with it. And if that changes in a couple of days, that’s ok too. Be kind and patient to yourself and others. This may take some trial and error, and things may change again. Or maybe you already have if all figure out. Wherever you are right now, find what works, do not compare yourself to others, we are all different and have different needs.
If you need help figuring out anything, please reach out to me, adaptability is one of my specialties. I’m really good at it. Stay in contact with friends and family. Talk it out. We sometimes have the best insights when we hear the words that come out of our mouths.
Let’s make this our finest hour. We can do this. We can do this together. Remember that there is enough to go around in this country, no need to hoard. Be kind to yourself and others. We are all trying to figure this out as we go. We are all in this together! Stay home. Let’s put a dent on that curve… And then go back to our old normal.
Stay safe, stay healthy, stay home.
With love and hope,
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