The New Normal: Navigating Everyday Life During COVID-19

The following article is an excerpt from "The New Normal: Navigating Everyday Life During COVID-19" (July 2020) by Lorrae Mynard and OTA—a sequel to Lorrae's original ebook "Normal life has been disrupted: Managing the disruption caused by COVID-19(March 2020). People still experiencing COVID-19 restrictions and lockdowns are encouraged to refer the original ebook.

(Not so) Normal Life is Resuming

COVID-19 has caused widespread disruption to daily life for people across the world. While the virus is under control in some regions, the pandemic is not yet over. Even in places where life is starting to return to normal, there is still the possibility that infections could increase, and restrictions could be reintroduced.

Everyone is now having to incorporate new practices into their everyday life:

  • Strict personal hygiene
  • Physical distancing
  • Following guidelines for the use of shared spaces
  • Reporting illness and getting checked if any symptoms appear
  • Remaining flexible to respond to future changes in directives

Some people have experienced significant losses because of the virus and others are struggling with anxiety in the face of so many unknowns—it can be hard to know how to move forward. This guide provides ideas and prompts for reflection to help you tailor a new normal that’s right for you.

Rethinking

As restrictions ease it’s time to reflect on what we learned (or perhaps enjoyed) during these months.

We can make choices and plans for our new normal, managing changes to the way we do things, and how we support our health and wellbeing.

Factors such as health, finances, family needs and personal preferences have a big impact on what choices are available to different people. It will be helpful to explore what options are possible within the limits of our circumstances and preferences. Some people may prefer to remain isolated because of health needs or comfort levels while others will be keen to jump back into all the activities of their pre-COVID-19 life.

There are personal decisions we all need to make:

  • Who do we mix with or invite into our home?
  • Where are we comfortable to go?
  • How do we get there: walk, cycle, drive or take public transport?
  • Should we join in with group activities or attend large events?

Disruption as an Opportunity

We’ve had to make significant personal changes and, although unpleasant, a disruption like COVID-19 can also provide opportunities:

  • Thousands of people trialled working or studying by distance and found it gave them great flexibility, easier time management, better productivity, and improved family life
  • Many people enjoyed pursuing a quieter life
  • A wide range of health care services became available via telehealth
  • Fitness studios, music teachers, libraries and performers found new ways to offer services
  • People who had previously found it hard to get out due to illness or mobility have had more opportunities to join social and cultural activities which moved to online delivery


About the Author

Lorrae Mynard is a Melbourne-based occupational therapist and PhD candidate with Monash University. She has worked in a variety of adult mental health settings in Australia, Canada and the UK.

Download and share the full ebook for free here.

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