Coronavirus has changed life as we knew it. And as summer tempts us with ample opportunities for getting together and celebrating, we must be mindful of our considerations and resist the urge to throw all caution to the wind.
With that said, I’m not personally staying at home all the time. I always wear a mask in public places, still carry hand sanitizer on me, avoid crowds, and practice social distancing, but I am seeing friends outdoors. I am dating with caution. I am even traveling a little. Life is good, for the most part, even when it’s not.
I hear so many people frustrated by the state of the world, the limitations of social distancing, and generally am seeing people go down fear spirals and while I don’t think I have all the answers, it makes me sad because we are still living, we are still allowed to explore, experience joy, connect. The threat of illness or death can propel us to live more richly, or it can keep us stuck in isolation and fear.
I admit I’ve had my moments of panic during this pandemic. I’ve felt despair, lonely as shit, and unsure of my place in the world. I’ve felt terrified for my family, and second guessed some of my life choices. I’ve had mini relapses into bad habits and a lot of old shit is coming up. I cannot deny that. But I’m on the upswing. Those things happen, and then you dust yourself off and move ahead. We are only human. We are going to slip up. The defining moment that will change the course of your life is what you decide to do after those slip ups. Do you stay on the floor, and say “fuck it I already fucked up!” or do you get up and keep walking forward?
I’m adapting to the new normal. In some ways, I like it. There is opportunity here, and evidence of radical change in the making. Yes, I have wistfully wished for outdoor summer concerts, crowded street fairs with epic people watching, and to eat in a restaurant without a second thought, but at this point, it’s kind of like wishing I were six inches taller….kind of pointless, and just bumming me out.
Here are Seven Tips for Making the Best Out of the New Normal and Living Your Best Life Anyways:
What we resist, persists. Thinking about what you don’t want just stresses you out. Focus on what you CAN do. Wishing things were different doesn’t make them different. Accepting the reality of our world is the first step towards making the best of it. Once you accept it, you are free to customize your new lifestyle.
Many people are going to feel differently about this than you. Unfortunately, in America, wearing a mask has become politicized and people are resisting the recommendations of the experts. Within my own family, I know I disagree about certain things, and think they are reading too much news. They think I am crazy for leaving my town, and not using Instacart.
Stop Reading the News
Get Your information from CDC and WHO, and please please PLEASE stop watching or reading the news. Media has taken a major hit, and sensationalized headlines are how news channels and online news outlets get clicks and views. Newscasters are literally actors and actresses paid to dramatize the news and keep you engaged. And how do they do that? Through taking neutral information and data and making it emotional. They tap into your survival and fear instincts to make a profit.
That is simply just how it works. Information is taken out of context, wording is manipulated, and if you don’t read with a critical eye you’d think we all need to be living in bomb shelters. I know some people who are treating this pandemic like that, and while I don’t want to judge, I do feel sad for them.
Wear a mask. Practice social distancing. Adapt to more time at home. Wash your hands. Avoid crowds and large gatherings. It’s pretty simple. You can still live a full life within these guidelines.
Meditate. Get outside every single day. Make exercise a non negotiable. Orgasm. Do things that are repetitive and mindless like baking, knitting, painting, coloring. Take naps. Prioritize CHILL because there is no denying this is a stressful time, and stress makes us release cortisol which hurts our immune system. Embrace your chill.
Find the Opportunity
Tony Robbins says when something shitty happens, ask yourself, “How is this great?” So ask yourself that every day. You don’t have to deny the challenge, but how is this new world creating new opportunities for you. Is this an opportunity to rekindle friendships? An opportunity to refine your cooking skills? Perhaps it’s an opportunity to create a lucrative business model based on new demands. Maybe it’s your time to write your memoir, or get flexible enough to do the splits. Find the opportunities that these changes are offering you, and take the ones that excite you.
Stop forcing yourself to be happy
No one is happy all the time. You can be content, grateful, calm, but happiness is a temporary emotion, just like all of the other emotions. It comes and goes. It’s my belief that TRYING to be happy all the time actually makes you less happy because it often involves suppression of other emotions, and disappointment that you are failing at something that is impossible.
Now, that’s not to say you shouldn’t prioritize the things that light you up, or take good care of yourself, but feeling happy-happy-joy-joy all the time isn’t realistic. Allow yourself to experience the full spectrum of emotion and humanity.
You can still go to the beach, hike, picnic, have movie nights, BBQ, Eat on patios (at your own risk), host distanced dinner parties, travel (again, at your own risk and perhaps not as far away as you’d like) create art, garden, dance, meet new people, go for bike rides, roller skate, read, write, decorate, bake, travel, sunbathe, swim, laugh your ass off. Life did not get cancelled, it got adjusted. Don’t forget that.