Transition – “The New Normal”

Author : Sean Connolly, Health Promotion Officer

Transition – “The New Normal”

It is widely accepted that we understand transition to mean the following when speaking from a rational perspective; “the process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another”.  Pretty straightforward, yes?  Essentially, it means change, but this definition doesn’t refer to, or discuss the emotional attachment to the word.

In our current climate never has “transition” come to mean so many things to so many people….nor has it been used so many times when discussing this chapter we’ve come to know as “the new normal”.

This chapter has seen many twists, turns and sudden surprises along the way.  It has been a real-life account of challenges that we have all faced as individuals who came together as a community, as a  unit, as one – so we could begin to function in this new environment, an environment that has become a hybrid world in every sense.

In the beginning, when this chapter began to form, we were suddenly forced to lock everything down.  Our working environments, social environments and our physical environments were closed to within a circle no more than a few kilometres wide.  Streets were alien and ghost-like, a truly surreal episode for this generation had begun.  We had to adjust to what this situation presented.  A world that had begun to shrink in a physical sense but had given way to a virtual world from which we could remain connected and visible to the world around us through technology.  In a positive way, it allowed for some of us to no longer commute, we were able to focus more on our jobs, our families, our environment immediately around us, what it could offer and so on.

It is important that we acknowledge and accept that this change brought negative aspects along with it also.  We actually had more time at home with little to no change in our physical environment.  For some of this meant falling into negative habits around eating and drinking.  Gyms and team sports came to an end and we couldn’t get out as much or move as much.  Home and Work life collided and suffered.  People worked well past normal hours and relationships were stretched and strained.  Burnout from working these longer hours and fatigue set in, so much so that a Code of Practice on the Right to Disconnect was introduced to care for employees mental health and make them switch off.  The hybrid world was sadly becoming a hate filled world for those of us unable to cope.

Some companies however, were quick to act from the very beginning on both positive and negative issues.   Corporate health and wellbeing providers such as Spectrum Life and LAYA Healthcare provided solutions for clients and their employees to cope in a variety of ways through the expert knowledge and strategic mental health plans they design and implement on a daily basis.  It enabled those employees to become more active again, more self-compassionate, more self-aware.  They could stay connected with positive aspects in their lives while learning to cope with and ultimately overcome the negative.  This will continue to be the case for the foreseeable future.  In my opinion it should remain so, as change is constant and fluid and with it so should the ways in which we look after our own health and wellbeing as well as the strategies that we can put in place to support it.  Programmes such as EAP (Employee Assistance Programme) operate on a 24/7 and provide a priceless asset to all of those who can make use of it.  EAP tackles every personal and professional issue that we may face on a completely confidential basis.

The onus ultimately lies with the individual on making this change work. If issues are presenting that may cause inner and outer conflict for you, then you can remind yourself of some easy steps to guide you and keep you present for what will become a new chapter on your journey both personally and professionally:

Be Calm – Our fight or flight response is our most primitive action.  It has helped us to survive in the past and still does to this day.  It calls the shots when confronted with a stress related issue.  Change can cause stress but remaining calm is ultimately the best approach.   Breath

Be Kind – To yourself first and foremost.  Certain elements of the new normal can seem daunting or put you in a place you’re not comfortable with.  You’ve settled into one change now here comes another.  The good news is that it’s okay to not be okay with this.

Accept that you may not be yourself or have lost sight of what your focus was on in the past.  That is in the past and you have the opportunity each day to begin anew.  You can talk to someone about what you are not comfortable with it and why.  Gaining another perspective from a trusted friend, work colleague of health professional can really help you to realign with yourself, all feedback is constructive, keep that in mind.  It’s also important to be kind to one another, we all struggle, it’s a part of life, a kind word or compassionate approach can make all the difference. Compassion

Be True – Remind yourself that you are always in control of your own reaction to the external.  You are also in control of what version of yourself you wish to show to the world.    Being true to yourself and in control of who you are as a person is paramount.  Choose not to be that person who thinks getting ahead is presenting an egotistical and arrogant representation of themselves to the world.  These acts are disillusioned, negative, isolating and self-destructing.  Don’t react in a way because of what others may think of you, act in a way that is true to you.  What other people think of you at any given time is none of your business and the same goes for them “I am better than no one and no one is better than me”.

Choose to understand who you are, what you can bring to the world (we all have at least one good thing) and harness that energy to showcase the best the version of you, the true version of who you are.  This version of you will be genuine, positive, open and encourage your own personal growth and this will in turn encourage others, so be true to yourself.  Truth