In life, we all experience periods of significant change and upheaval that can make 'normality' seem like a distant memory.
Perhaps you're recovering from an illness, dealing with a significant life event, or adjusting to a global pandemic. Regardless of the circumstances, when the world as we know it has been turned upside down, it can be challenging to find our footing again. This blog will delve into strategies and tips to navigate these challenging times, ultimately finding your way back to a sense of normality, or rather, a 'new normal'.
The Search for Normality
Firstly, let's examine what we mean by 'normal'. The term 'normal' often represents a sense of stability, routine, and predictability in our lives. It's a baseline of sorts - our comfort zone. However, life rarely stays in this comfort zone. Change is inevitable, and it's how we adapt to this change that shapes our resilience and mental health. Therefore, 'getting back to normal' may not necessarily mean returning to how things were, but rather finding a new state of equilibrium that allows us to function and thrive despite the changes we've experienced.
The Psychological Impact of Change
Change, even when it's positive, can trigger stress and anxiety. Our brains are hardwired to crave predictability as a survival mechanism. When our routine is disrupted, it can leave us feeling unsettled and anxious. Furthermore, significant changes can challenge our sense of identity and security, making it even more challenging to adapt.
Studies show that prolonged exposure to stress can lead to various mental health issues such as depression and anxiety disorders. That's why it's crucial to manage these reactions effectively, to protect our mental health and foster resilience.
Strategies for Adapting to the New Normal
There are several mental health strategies that you can adopt to better adapt to your 'new normal'. These are rooted in principles of cognitive-behavioural therapy, mindfulness, self-care, and positive psychology.
- Acknowledge Your Feelings: The first step in managing any emotional response is to acknowledge it. It's okay to feel scared, anxious, or even angry about the changes you're experiencing. These are valid reactions and suppressing them can lead to increased stress and emotional exhaustion.
- Seek Support: Reach out to trusted friends, family, or professionals to share your feelings and concerns. Connection with others can alleviate feelings of isolation and provide practical advice or emotional support.
- Establish Routines: Routines provide a sense of order and predictability. Try to establish daily or weekly routines that can become your new normal. This might include regular meal times, exercise, work schedules, and relaxation activities.
- Practice Self-Care: Prioritise activities that help you relax and recharge, such as reading a book, taking a bath, or going for a walk. These activities can help reduce stress and boost mood.
- Mindfulness and Relaxation Techniques: Mindfulness encourages us to focus on the present moment rather than ruminating on the past or worrying about the future. Techniques such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or meditation can help manage stress and anxiety.
- Positive Affirmations: Positive affirmations are statements that can help overcome negative and self-sabotaging thoughts. They can help to build self-esteem and resilience, particularly in times of change.
- Professional Help: If you're struggling to adapt to your new normal, don't hesitate to seek professional help. Psychologists and counsellors can provide valuable tools and strategies to manage stress and anxiety.
Conclusion: Embrace the New Normal
Returning to normal after a significant life disruption isn't about going back to the way things were. It's about moving forward, adapting to change, and creating a new sense of normality that allows us to function and thrive. It's not always an easy journey, but with the right strategies and supports in place, it's certainly possible. Remember, there's no 'right' way to feel during these times and no set timeline for adapting. Listen to your needs, seek support when necessary, and take it one day at a time.
Our 'new normal' might look different than we imagined, but with resilience, adaptability, and patience, we can navigate these uncharted waters and emerge stronger on the other side.
After all, as the saying goes, "The only constant in life is change."
Discover a Path Towards Better Mental Health
Navigating life's ups and downs can often feel overwhelming, leading to stress, anxiety, or even feelings of despair. If you're feeling weighed down by emotional turmoil or struggling to find a sense of balance, we're here to help. Our counselling services offer a safe, compassionate, and confidential environment where you can express your feelings freely, explore your concerns, and begin the journey towards healing and personal growth. We believe that everyone has the capacity for change and that therapy can unlock the door to a more fulfilling, happier life.
Unlock Your Potential with Professional Counselling
Our professional counselling services are designed to equip you with the tools and strategies necessary to effectively handle life's challenges. Whether you're grappling with stress, anxiety, depression, or simply seeking a better understanding of yourself and your relationships, we can provide tailored support to meet your unique needs. Using evidence-based approaches such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, we can help you challenge unhelpful cognitive biases and develop healthier ways of thinking.