Adjusting to this 'new normal'

There has been a lot written about adjusting to the ‘new normal’ with the pandemic, but with things getting worse in Melbourne (and be assured that all of Melbourne is aware of this new reality) the new normal here just seems to get weirder by the day.

Now COVID19 is undoubtedly something that the whole world is dealing with but somehow we all thought (or hoped) we could get by without it affecting us. This once dearly held fantasy seems to be gone now – most of us preoccupied by the actual dealing of now.

Getting ready for more lockdown is the order of the day and so we have to be ready. Here are some things you can do to adjust to the ‘new normal’ while we wait for things to improve:

Stay informed (but don’t over do it)

It seems both a blessing and a curse today to have so much information on COVID-19 available. With information broadcast 24/7 from the media and multiple government agencies, it would seem new advisory warnings are constantly coming out but effectively the message is still the same; stay home; avoid contact with people outside of your house; and get tested if you have symptoms.

There are several reliable sources of information, including the national broadcaster (ABC or the Victorian government) but also don’t over do it. Don’t get your information from social media outlets either. There is such a thing as getting too much information and it is bad for your mental health. Don’t watch too much news. And if you do find you are stressed or getting anxiety, talk to someone – even a friend or an anonymous call to Lifeline (ph: 13 11 14) or Beyond Blue (ph: 1300 22 4636) can help.

Watch out for your neighbour

These are difficult times and unfortunately all sorts of stress is playing out in the community. Domestic violence has gone up, stress levels have gone up (for most people) and clearly our toilet paper buying has skyrocketed, so there is indeed stress in the community.

Being kind is easy and keeping an eye out for your neighbours, is always a good thing, as you never know when they will need your help. You could help ease someone’s day and everyone needs a bit of that in these challenging times.

Eat your greens (and get some vitamin C)

Staying healthy is important this year so if there is anything you can do to avoid colds and flus, such as the flu vaccination, or taking multivitamins, do it. A stronger immune system is good to have especially when there is a demand on health services (as is at the moment) and it means you won’t require much medical attention if you do catch a cold. Eat well, exercise, do meditation and run your life like you always do. A good immune system means you are healthier – and that’s a great bonus!

Stay positive

It seems obvious to say but staying positive is good for a lot of reasons and important in these tough times. It is also hard to do. Optimism may not seem like it’s important but during the dark days of winter or cold, we are all going to experience difficult (COVID19 related or not) and while the regular shit storm that happens might be inevitable we choose to front it with a strong exterior and remember that these bad moments will eventually pass. Positivity can even boost your immune system, so prioritise feeling positive. It can change your outlook on everything and make a huge difference on a bad day.

Overall, there is no doubt that Melbourne is a strong town, filled with people who look after each other. During these bad times, we all need to bunker down and wait for thing to gradually improve and wait out (at home) for another month or so. Winter, and this pandemic will eventually pass. And soon it will be spring again.

And then we can focus on making it a spring to remember.