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  • Writer's pictureBruce O'Brien

New normal. How are you taking care of yourself?

I live in Malaysia and every summer I go back to the UK to see family and friends. And the plans for 2020 were “unprecedented” – I had two weddings, a stag party, a music festival (regular fixture), my Dad’s 80th plus a load of quality time with important people all planned into a two-month trip. I had been looking forward to this for a long time. And then “it” happened. Of course my trip got cancelled. And I just carried on. And then a few weeks ago I started feeling a bit flat. And I had no idea why. Until I realised it’s the new normal.

What is the new normal? It’s hard to say. Except that it’s ‘unprecedented”. None of us, literally, knows how to do the new normal and how to be the new normal. Right now for me it means missing my annual trip to the UK for me. And while one voice in my head says that it’s a little spoiled to feel sorry for myself, actually I’m missing out on being with the people I love the most in the world. And then tomorrow it means spending seven hours on Zoom because – well you know why. We all do. But it doesn’t make it any easier.

Since realising that I was justly sad not to be seeing my friends and family I am being a little more kind to myself. And I’m also forgiving myself for finding the world a difficult place to be and to understand. It’s bewildering wondering how we get through this and recover. Everywhere we look, things have changed. And they keep changing. It’s not as if the pandemic is behind us – it’s still very much alive.

And so I invite you to reflect on how you are experiencing the new normal, and how you can be really compassionate to yourself and to others around you if you or they are finding this tough. I know it’s overused, but this really is unprecedented, and so it’s time we all took care of each other in an unprecedented way so that we can get through this together.

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