What does “back to normal” mean?

During this era of Corona Virus, and subsequent economic collapse, what is “back to normal” anyway?

Another Zoom meeting notification in isolation and I’ll scream! My stomach turns with worry – I want to get back to see people again. How will it be when we get to go about as “normal” again?

What is “back to normal” going to look like?

Are you starting to feel anxious and or unmotivated to move forward? What’s the point if you don’t know what direction you’re heading?

Ahh there’s seemingly no control over what we feel we can do due to the uncertainty of this new unchartered land of “new normal”. Sentiments we’ve experienced through our art psychotherapy practices are that people have had enough of ‘iso time’ and are eager at the promise of inching our way back to normal. Yet, there is a gnawing anxiety and underlying fear of what getting back out into the world actually looks and feels like.

How are you meant to be if your goals and visions are no longer an option or seemingly far into the distant future?

Wherever you are on Earth; the comforting fact is that NO ONE KNOWS, and we are in this TOGETHER. So chances are 5 billion other people are feeling very similar to how you are now. Uncertain.

There are also a range of amazing and helpful tools and strategies that can be imparted to give you clarity, purpose and momentum, so that you can gain more self control on a personal level in order to navigate this new way of being: the “new normal”.

How do we bring the good parts of what we’ve learnt in isolation into our new lives and subsequent “normality”?

It’s been an emotional and energetic rollercoaster!

The term ‘quarantine fatigue’ has emerged – when we are constantly on alert and being vigilant our entire nervous system can feel exhausted. First week of isolation or ‘sheltering in place’, I loved! I have a place to shelter so I am one of the lucky ones, I had lots to do and was craving the solitude and quiet this time would give me. No reason to go out, no pressure to perform or produce anything. A dream really. Sheltering in place has been good for some, a renewal of sorts – having enjoyed being closer to family and connecting in new ways online, taking on meditation challenges, online free cooking classes, tending gardens, virtual dinner parties and rest. Some have even reported a new appreciation and understanding of slowing down and healing.

The second week was not so rosy. It hit me hard – I am alone here! I cannot go and see my friends, no hugs from my family and my business was disappearing before my eyes. I cried, I cried a lot. My world turned upside down and I thought – I am a therapist; resilient, resourced and supported. How are others doing with this?

Others have been under more pressure than ever – financial loss, increased childcare demands, mental health challenges, unhealthy food habits and deprivation of human touch or ‘skin hunger’. It has been easy to return to old destructive patterns to cope. The weeks went on and I found my way – an online program with a favourite poet, a meditation challenge, getting creative in my art therapy studio, walks in nature and most of all I fell deeply in love with the ocean once again as it held me, rocked and soothed me, filling my cup full of creativity and hope.

So what should you bring?

Through all this, what have you learnt and reflected on or experienced that is a little gem to you that you definitely want to bring with you into the “new normal”? We have found the key to riding the waves of the emotional storms to be through achievable helpful daily habits and practices. Getting to know yourself through self reflection, contemplation and pauses in your day: working out what your particular ‘emotional medicine’ is in order to comfort and soothe your hurting heart.

Something to steady you as you navigate the rolling uncertainty. Ultimately, uncharted waters are scary as there’s the fear of the unknown. However, the unknown can be challenging emotionally because we have the FREEDOM to choose where to sail. Hoist your sails, recruit your crew, and turn this “new normal” into an exciting adventure where you forge your own path. Culture Coach and Creative Therapies are excited to help you navigate through, you’re not alone.

After every great hardship life refreshes itself – Jack Kornfield

Managing Uncertainty And Anxiety

Upcoming Online 3-Part Series: Managing Uncertainty

During uncertain times; like that of the current global situation, a loss of control can be felt as we do not know what is going to happen next; with our work, community and social life. Uncertainty fuels anxiety because when we sense a loss of control of our environment we sense a threat to our security which triggers a fear response – anxiety. Concentrating on arts-based therapeutic techniques, tools will be used so you can gain control and motivation to forge a new direction. Click on the link above for more information or contact us directly to find out more.