Sep 26, 2020

Dealing with new normal


Over the past few months, we keep hearing this phrase "dealing with new normal" in various contexts - life as we deal with the ongoing pandemic and post that.

As I was ruminating over this phrase, I had an epiphany. The new normal isn't something new to us. We have been facing "new normal"s since the beginning of mankind, with every little change we embrace. 

A decade ago, I didn't have a smartphone, but once I embraced it, it became the new normal.

Until around three months back, I was using a knife with a 3" long blade for chopping vegetables, but then I shifted to a new one with a 4" long blade. The new knife has become the new normal for me and I find it difficult to use my old knife. Mind you, I had been using the old knife for 5+ years.

Every little change we imbibe in our lives sets a new normal. Whether this new normal makes our lives better off or worse off is dependent on multiple factors - some that are under our control, while some that are not.

The current pandemic situation has brought in a lot of changes in our behaviors. There are also many macro-economic and political issues emerging during this situation, which are mostly beyond our control. Instead of worrying or getting anxious about these external issues, let's focus our attention inward - our actions and behaviors that have changed.

List down all the changes you have made (voluntarily or forced upon) in the past six months. 

Against each change, write down whether this has made your life better off or worse off. 

If it is better off, continue to embrace this change more consciously.

If it is worse off, think about the feasible alternatives to make it better.

To give you a few examples from my own life,

  1. Having an early dinner. I finish off my dinner by 7-7:15 PM. This change has made my life so much better. My digestion has improved, I feel light and fresh while I wake up the next day.
  2. No quiet time for myself. There's always so much noise and interruptions, given that all of us are at home. I'm not able to get focused time for myself to do any deep work. I recognized this problem within a few weeks since the lockdown started. From then on, I have been waking up by 6 AM consciously, so that I get a solid 2 hours of quiet time for myself. I have also accepted this situation and don't force or expect myself to do deep work during other times. 

Some of the areas to think about, where you might have made a change in the past six months:

  • Sleep routine
  • Eating habits
  • Exercise
  • Social media usage
  • News consumption
  • Binge-watching
  • Family time
  • Shopping patterns
  • Monthly expenses
  • State of mind
  • Productivity
  • Addictions

Let's focus on what is in our control - our actions.

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