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The Feel Better Series 01: Restoring a sense of normalcy

People still express shock about the strangeness of our current reality on a daily basis, although we are 10 months into the pandemic. Comforting ourselves, in part by restoring a sense of normalcy, is important in terms of enjoying each day as much as possible, and reinforcing our sense of agency (agency, in this context, means to have control over your life and the decisions you make). To do this, we have had to adapt and be resourceful. In some cases we were able to adapt our prior support systems and activities to meet the new constraints we face. In other cases, we needed to be creative and find new ways to find meaning and structure. Combined with a focus on self-care (and therapy for those who are having difficulty navigating the pandemic though behavioral modifications alone).

  • Working – individuals who are able to safely work in their regular environments credit that experience with maintaining a sense of normalcy.

  • Spending time with family and loved ones – although the additional pressures of the pandemic can strain relationships, most of the people I spoke with felt more connected to their loved ones, and more appreciative of those relationships.

  • Scheduling virtual contact with friends and family that you don’t see regularly.

  • Self-Awareness– especially becoming consciously aware of what upsets us (and learning to avoid it when appropriate) and what comforts us.

  • Cooking - Many people I spoke with have developed a much stronger interest in cooking, and learning about new foods and cooking techniques.

  • Moving - With real estate prices in some areas dropping, the new levels of accessibility have led many people I work with to get nicer apartments and/or move to more affluent areas. Although some of the younger people I know moved back home when the pandemic began, most of them have moved back to the city.

  • Exercise - Although the gyms are closed, working people found that they could use time gained (from not commuting) on fitness pursuits. There has been a strong lean toward fitness that incorporates aspects of meditation, awareness, and general centeredness.

  • Art and crafting - Creative people did not stop creating. Those who used mediums that could be used at home were able to focus more time in their art. Others had to adapt, using medium that were either less toxic, smaller scale, or using processes that were quicker to complete. The emotional turmoil of the pandemic left some creatives finding longer projects more challenging than usual.

  • Grooming and maintenance – getting haircuts and engaging in relaxing skin care rituals.

In addition to engaging in meaningful activities, it is critical to have strong emotional support and connection, especially now. Without adequate support, even engaging in self-care and maintaining a routine is likely not enough to make you feel well enough, especially with the isolation we all face as a result of the pandemic. Please do not hesitate to reach out if you would benefit from therapy. There are many different resources available now, at a range of price points – ranging from text services to live therapy sessions.

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