3 Ways to Adjust to a ‘New Normal’

Start by remembering that whatever may have changed, you are still you.

Posted in , Sep 30, 2018

Adjusting to a new normal

There are certain moments in life that I call “before and after” moments—there was a time before they happened, and there will be time afterward. In such an instance, as the writer Charles Eisenstein puts it, “we sense that ‘normal’ isn’t coming back, that we are being born into a new normal.”

Born into a new normal.

This can be thrilling, in the case of a promotion at work, a marriage or new baby in the family, or a move into a new home. It can be a reorientation of your core values, a turn away from negative habits or the discovery of a new passion. It can be the result of hard work, of self-examination, of good fortune.

But sometimes we are delivered to a “new normal” against our will. This can come in the form of a frightening medical diagnosis, an unexpected change of financial circumstance, the loss of a loved one, or the end of a relationship. Often, such changes are jarring, shocking and not due to any mistake or wrong action on our part.

Holding close to your positive life path during the transition to a “new normal,” whatever has caused the change, takes careful attention and effort. Here are three ways to ease your journey.

1)  Steer Clear of Other Life Changes

If life is changing around you, try to stabilize everything that’s within your control to hold steady. For example, the week after moving into a new home isn’t the right time to embark on a new diet and exercise program. Let your new normal nestle into your daily routine before turning your attention to other new ventures.

2)  Seek Out Gratitude

When Laura Bratton’s guide dog died, she grieved terribly, feeling bereft of the companion who had been there since she had become blind as a teenager. As time passed, she found the strength to start a gratitude practice, landing on feelings of thankfulness for the friends and family members who supported and cared for in her grief. She writes, “Becoming grateful for the moments of support does not minimize or take away the pain of the situation. Being grateful shows that the horrible situation does not permanently crush and destroy our spirits.”

3)  Take Your Time

I love this idea from the writer Clare Marlow, who says, “Don’t write or accept any prescriptions for grief.” By that, she means that grief—or really any emotional state—doesn’t follow a set timeline, ratcheting up or down by measurable increments. Adjusting to a new normal, whether due to a positive or negative cause, takes time, and a kindness you can do yourself when you are in a transition period is to allow the change to unfold as it will.

One last way to positively navigate a “new normal” is to remember that you are not alone. Post a comment about a time you faced a new normal to share your experiences and ideas.

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