If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you’ve discovered that I like schedules. I like plans and knowing what’s going to happen in a certain day, how to prepare to walk through each day well.
Of course, small adjustments are sometimes necessary . . . a kid calls from school and needs to be picked up, the spouse locked keys in the car . . . but what about the erasure of “normal” from our days?
How do we adjust to the life-shifts this pandemic has dictated?
Like many of you, I’ve experienced a gamut of emotions—fear, anxiety, unsettledness with everything being beyond my control, and I’m coming to a place of accepting. I’m learning how to function in a world where normal has disappeared.
But I still long for it. I still have times when I struggle with the fact that everything feels different. I still feel powerless at times, and it’s unsettling.
Some days I can’t concentrate on anything because I’m distracted, by boys schooling at home, by headlines that flash across my screen, by the uncertainties of how long and how bad this is predicted to be.
The disappearance of normal from our lives has left many of us reeling as we grapple with the life changes and the vast emotions.
As much as I crave normal, I’m realizing “normal” has never been a thing we should cling to. Normal, like everything else, is vulnerable to circumstances. How we adapt determines how we’ll fare when big changes, like this pandemic, strike.
If we cling to what we had, we’ll end up frustrated. When we’re inflexible, we snap. But when we trust that the Lord is holding us and guiding us, it’s easier to have hearts that will bend and not be broken.
When we trust that God’s working in the midst of this difficult and unpredictable time, we can know His peace because the outcome isn’t up to us. What is up to us is how we respond.
How do we find peace when nothing feels normal?
1. Get outside for sunshine and exercise, even if it’s only for a few minutes. There’s something about the feel of sunshine on our skin that refreshes our souls.
2. Keep a flexible mindset. Whatever sense of ‘normal’ we have right now will probably morph again. Holding our current “normal” with an open palm helps when things shift.
3. Stay connected. Many of us live far from our families and loved ones. We’ve FaceTimed with our parents. I text with my sisters and friends. Strengthening relationships during this isolating time is essential for our spirits. Thank goodness for texts, Zoom, Facebook messenger, Marco Polo, and the old-fashioned phone call. Internalizing or suppressing every thought and feeling damages our emotional well-being.
4. Try to continue doing the things we need to do in a day, but give ourselves grace if they can’t be done as often as we’re used to.
5. Find ways to encourage others. This may look like sending a card to or calling someone who’s quarantining alone, with as short a message as, “I’m thinking of you!” This may be the highlight of their week. Send a text, maybe with a funny or thought-provoking meme.
6. Give ourselves permission to spend time doing things that fill us. Making cards. Building things. House projects. Take photographs. Work out. Whatever it is that fills our souls. This strengthens our spirits in a way little else can.
7. Time-block our days. This may not work for everyone, but as one who thrives with structure, this has helped me. I block 1-2 hour periods of time and focus on one thing in that time block. Writing. Organizing a room in my house. Exercising. Electronic decluttering. Etc. This helps me stay more focused and be intentional with my time.
So, when life changes again—and it will—let’s remember that any “normal” is temporary. Though we don’t know what’s coming, our Father does. He will guide us through each season of life, especially when we’re leaning on Him.
What about you? What helps you establish a sense of peace when nothing feels normal? What’s been the most helpful thing for your well-being since the pandemic changed our collective lives?
*****Life can be hard. Do you ever need a little encouragement on this journey? I’d love to walk with you.I’m excited to share a 28-day devotional ebook with my newsletter subscribers. Join the journey by clicking the image to receive this gift and uplifting thoughts monthly.*****