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Psychotherapist dives into what makes the ‘new normal’

To best maintain our mental health, how should we adapting to the ‘new normal’? An expert weighs in.

Singapore to vaccinate schoolchildren against Covid
Singapore schoolchildren aged 12-15 will be able to start booking Covid-19 vaccinations this week - Copyright AFP/File Roslan RAHMAN
Singapore schoolchildren aged 12-15 will be able to start booking Covid-19 vaccinations this week - Copyright AFP/File Roslan RAHMAN

As the rate of COVID-19 cases has shown a gradual decrease and the number of vaccinated individuals continues to rise (at least in some countries), many people are heading back out into the world, unsure of what to expect and what lies ahead.

As people are starting to re-evaluate every aspect of their daily lives and are thinking about how they might begin adjusting to a post-pandemic society, while still navigating through the current cases of the virus, the focus is with the “new normal”.

Yet what exactly does this “new normal” look like?

Dr. Teralyn Sell, a psychotherapist and brain health expert, explains to Digital Journal what the “new normal” is today and how it is impacting individuals everywhere.

Sell explains: “It is time to ponder the idea of what ‘new normal’ might mean. One of the unspoken topics of the pandemic is how it was actually helping some people re-evaluate the things that are important to them.”

She adds: “Some people are being required to go back to their offices and continue what was, others are attempting to negotiate for more of ‘what is’ and still others are really looking to create something new or continue on the journey they have forged over the past year. No matter what side of the conversation you are on, it is time to unpack what ‘new normal’ means for you.”

To help readers who may be pondering with the matter, Dr. Teralyn Sell’s provides two key tips on how you can establish a “new normal” while keeping your mental health a priority. These are:

Tip #1 Before you jump back into ‘what was’ pre-pandemic, take inventory of the things that were working for you during the pandemic

I like the analogy of the frog in the boiling pot of water. Pre-pandemic many of us were quite ‘comfortable’ living in the discomfort of the boiling water. Once we were taken out of the water we then realized how uncomfortable it actually was. Now, we are often being asked to jump back into the boiling water as if it isn’t boiling.

This is a great time to unpack the things that you may have enjoyed during the pandemic and move in those directions. Perhaps you really liked the freedom of not commuting so you were home for meals with your family. Evaluate what is important to you, time with loved ones is likely on top of the list. Often our mental health suffers when we continue to live in discomfort.

You may experience more depression, anxiety and sleep-related problems. That is why it is important to begin your evaluation of what parts of the ‘new normal’ you absolutely need to protect and what you can leave behind.

Tip #2: Establish healthy habits one micro habit at a time

For some of us, we have gathered some unhealthy habits during the pandemic. Perhaps hygiene was slipping, or not dressing properly daily or not exercising. More than ever, the time is now to evaluate some of the negative habits we have developed and start replacing them with new, healthier ones. Don’t try to tackle all habits at once. Instead set a micro goal and master that. Then habit stack positive habits around that micro habit.

Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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