THE NEW NORMAL - 8 MINS READ
THE NEW NORMAL - 8 MINS READ
Author: Datin Eileen Unwin - “Intention is more than wishful thinking; it’s wilful direction”
Pre-2020 we lived in a world that relied on being busy. It was a status symbol, a value, a bench mark, if you will, of our worth in the world.
Being busy showcased success, future potential in a career, an exemplary example to our children and the juggling act was a stage show to be admired. Those 24 hours of daily living demanded maximum input v output and with it came a pressure cooker of humans exploding with emotions, desires, mental and physical health obstacles and a great deal of ego. A generation of extreme achievers were being bred because this was not just what the world demanded, but what we demanded of ourselves and others too. There was judgment from every angle and the commitment to living a busy life was perceived as living a best life. In fact, we were conditioning super human behaviour.
Until that is when we were forced into a state of shut down within our own world and the greater world around us. It was out of our control; a pandemic had struck and we were witnessing a block buster Sci-Fi movie, in real time, whereby we were playing the lead role. We were left within government and health organisation’s hands and we were forced to surrender to the unknown. Indeed, a scary place to be. Families were ripped apart, deaths escalated and no longer were we screaming out how busy we were, we were locked away, hidden from life and asked to stay home. News channels were a focus to try and understand what was happening and we were driven by media sources and led by their navigation in a new era of survival. Scientists were our only hope; our reliance on a vaccine was the light we could see at the end of a tunnel that was slowly getting darker and longer. Every nation had a story, a unification of their people to support their health care system, their vulnerable, a responsibility to do “the right thing”. Stay home, wear a mask, social distance. The epitome of what we were conditioned to live pre-COVID when we did anything but stay home; we travelled, we communicated freely, we hugged, we kissed, we invaded personal space, we lived in a self driven world. Overnight we were asked to change and whilst change is good, this felt alien. The world, as we so arrogantly knew it, was different and with it our viewing lens had to be adjusted and “new normal” were two words we were told to accept. It was time to readdress ourselves as humans and appreciate the world around us in a new light.
Whilst this adjustment may sound easy, what transpired as the “new normal” now that 2020 is behind us but 2021 is still to be lived, is anything but. In every storm there is a rainbow, however before we can see the colours, we have feelings and emotions that are nothing short of what we experience on a rollercoaster ride. Children were forced to homeschool whereby parents became teachers, teachers became counsellors, workers adjusted to careers driven by zoom meetings and Netflix was a buzzword. With the best intentions of positivity, an element of personal survival was the only way forward which for many, was a struggle. Needless to say, anxiety levels rose and mental health issues became prevalent. Covid Induced Anxiety became a recognisable disorder and as cases escalate so too did those of household abuse, depression, narcotic use and suicide. During the pandemic, 4 in 10 adults in the U.S. have reported symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorder, a share that has been largely consistent, up from 1 in 10 adults who reported these symptoms pre-Covid (https://www.kff.org/coronavirus-covid-19/issue-brief/the-implications-ofcovid-19-for-mental-health-and-substance-use/).
The entire human race was fearful in one way or another and we had no choice but to acknowledge the impact this pandemic was having on the population. Many people were genuinely lonely, depressed, unemployed, grieving the loss of livelihoods and loved ones all in the name of Covid-19. It was and still is a global disaster but on a more intimate level, a personal disaster for so many too. A life changing, soul destroying period of desperation ... a terribly sad state of affairs for a vast number of people struggling in the name of adapting to a new normal. Dr Tetris Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization tells us that “Good mental health is absolutely fundamental to overall health and well-being. COVID-19 has interrupted essential mental health services around the world just when they’re needed most. World leaders must move fast and decisively to invest more in lifesaving mental health programmes ̶ during the pandemic and beyond.” (https://www.who.int/ news/item/05-10-2020-covid-19-disrupting-mental-health-services-in-most-countries-whosurvey).
The understanding of this mental health impact may be hard for those that did not suffer (and there were many who enjoyed and continue to enjoy the “new normal’ guidelines) but each of us can play a small part in growing awareness and minimising the impact it has had on those that did. Let us consider the younger generation and the affect it has had on their mental health, the older generation who felt vulnerable and anxious that their few precious years left were being washed away. The enigma that was and is, in the hands of the middle aged, as trusted adults to administer the future but who felt the pressure to provide stability. On a basic level, we can all do our part by taking time to talk, connect and reach out to others to encourage and establish self help tools; care of the body and mind through breathing techniques (Calm & Headspace App), stretching, meditating, eating a balanced & healthy diet, exercising, sleeping, avoiding alcohol, tobacco and substance use. It goes without saying that we each have a responsibility to seek help for ourselves or others through professional services that specialise in depression and/or suicidal thoughts, all levels of abuse, addiction, bereavement and isolation should it be necessary.
A disaster of any kind is an opportunity for growth and reflection with their synergy being reflected clearly in statistical curves. We are gifted with the chance to engage in a more positive, caring, unified and ethical future whereby nations, governments, NGOs and health organisations can gather the lessons learnt and adopt methods of integrating positive reinforcements to support those in need. The human race is full of love and compassion if only we scratch the surface to discover it. With the best intentions we can develop this masterful art.
Researchers have found that drinking tea lowers levels of the stress hormone, cortisol.
The ingredients in a cup of tea can lift the mood, improve focus and even ward off depression. (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-00398-1) There is evidence of these long term health benefits so why not try Tea Bird Tea’s Green Tea blend. Sweet, refreshingly pure and natural, it is the perfect antioxidant booster comforting our moods and supplying a hit of positivity to our bodies and minds.