Finding our new normal

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I’ve always treasured the days when I worked from home. Peace and quiet to allow me to really think about my work; going for a run when I would normally be commuting and being there for my children when they returned home from school. Remember those days?

But we are now experiencing a very different world. Enforced working from home is a huge shift for all of us, whether we are used to working from home or not. This is our new normal and we are now adjusting to a very different existence, one that will last for the foreseeable future.

When we go through change we all experience a series of emotions. Many of us are familiar with the change curve (based on the Kübler-Ross model). There’s no avoiding moving through each of these stages. Expect to feel denial, frustration and some low moments in the early days of adjustment. These emotions are inevitable. Self-awareness is key as we work our way through to acceptance, where we begin to feel ourselves moving forwards.


We all want to reach acceptance as soon as we can. We want to be in a place where we are effectively remote working with our colleagues, one where we’ve established our new daytime space with family members and we’re rocking it again in terms of our productivity.

But it’s not just the practicalities that we need to focus on whilst we establish our new normal. We also need to make sure we continue to appreciate and enjoy life. We can’t put that on hold until we get to the other side of this. In the last week, our diaries have been emptied of all social engagements, theatre trips, sporting events. It’s important to keep connecting with people and maintain normality as much as we can.

Here are some ideas for you to try that will help you reach acceptance more quickly:

Appreciate the little things that happen throughout the day, waking up and the sun is shining, a coffee break with a family member. These little things make us realise how much we have in our lives.

Keep to the same rules to protect your personal time as when you work outside the home; have a cut off point in the day when you stop working, turn off notifications on your phone, manage your social media time and take regular breaks.

Take pleasure in the fact that you are there more for your partner and children.

Look after your physical and mental wellbeing. Find time to focus on you, meditate, enjoy the fresh air and keep exercising. These are often the first things we neglect during periods of change and yet it’s vital we maintain a focus on them to keep our resilience high.

Be kind to yourself. This is a time for accepting good is good enough, we can’t strive to be perfect with such an overwhelming amount of change going on in our lives.

Be creative and secure social events in your diary you can look forward to. Hold your book club or beer get together over a video conference; if you normally grab a coffee with a work colleague first thing, give them a call whilst you have a cup at home; visit a gallery virtually at the weekend. There are lots of ideas out there if you search online

Life is a journey and we need to make sure we enjoy every moment. Balance out adjusting on a practical level with focussing on your enjoyment of life in these extraordinary times.

Jacqueline Shakespeare
Written by Jacqueline Shakespeare
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