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Adjusting to the New Normal

The effects of the COVID-19 panic has caused a massive changes to our daily lives, changes that have often happened rapidly and abruptly. Life adjustments often come with a wide range of experiences and emotions. Sometimes that transition can feel smooth and other times that journey to the new normal is choppy or downright bumpy!

Some people may find themselves in survival mode, gathering information and resources necessary to function at school, work, as a person, and in our relationships with others. Others may be attempting to settle into their new routines. For some, this means trying to combat social isolation. For many, it means learning how to live (or re-live) with friends, family members, partners, or roommates, which is not always easy. I hear a lot of people struggle to find a distraction-free space at home that is conducive to do productive and effective work. For myself, I feel like it takes twice as much time, effort, and energy to do even simple tasks, which can be quite draining. I’ve really had to be very compassionate and patient with myself lately. Others may be struggling with the fatigue, frustration, sadness, anger, grief, and anxiety (among other things) of adjusting. Some people (and I hope there are a lot of you out there), have gone through the adjustment process and are finding comfort in your new norm. In all of this, here are a few important things to remember.

  1. This situation is both uncertain and temporary! It’s okay not to feel okay. It’s also okay (and encouraged) to seek help and support!
    1. Consider this a time to reflect on who you want to be during this time.
    2. Focus on what is within your control.
    3. It’s good to be informed, and it’s a really good idea to take breaks from conversations, news, and information related to COVID-19.
  2. Adjustment is a process that looks differently for most people. This process is not liner or well-defined. Patience and flexibility are really important.
    1. Please be respectful of where you are in the process (some self-compassion can go a long way) and also of where others are.
    2. It’s okay to be curious about where your friends, family, and others are in their process and to seek to understand their wants and needs at this time. Don’t forget to tell them what you want and need too!
  3. Setting a routine can be really helpful! In addition to doing your schoolwork make sure to schedule time for your physical and emotional health, fun, creatively, social connection, and stress relief!
  4. It’s okay to set boundaries, even with family members, friends, and professors.

I hope that when reading this you are beginning to see that you aren’t alone in the adjustment process. My wish for you is that you have found some peace in the chaos, and learned something about yourself and the world around you.

Theresa Nutten, Purdue CAPS Staff Therapist

Resources about Social Distancing

YouTube Video: Resiliency While Social Distancing
KUMC Resiliency While Socially Distancing Document

Resources for Riding out the Storm of COVID-19

Modified from document created by Donna Lazarick, Purdue Staff Therapist

  1. Limit Social Media Exposure to avoid constant overflow of virus information
  2. Remind yourself of a difficult time that you have successfully managed in the past. Be resilient by looking 5 years ahead to imagine
  3. Begin to think of what can I control Right Now. Avoid What if scenarios.
  4. Try something new.
    1. Here’s a great resource from the University of Michigan’s CAPS.
  5. Free APPS and websites promote mindfulness, stress management, and explore grief. Examples:
    1. Headspace
    2. Shine
    3. Calm
    5. has a number of resources
    6. has information in dealing with loss