In these times of uncertainty, many of us are seeking to redefine a “new normal.” Whether we’ve had to learn how to set up a Zoom meeting, stay at home, physically distance from loved ones, or stay up-to-date with the news on vaccines and local COVID restrictions, there have been countless changes this year.
As we know, embracing change is not always an easy thing to do, especially when we are removed from our regular routine and thrown curveballs left and right.
However, maybe seeking a “new normal” isn’t about feeling a sense of control of our environment or the future. Maybe the “new normal” means building our skills to adjust and adapt so that we may be ready for whatever life throws at us, even the challenges that come with a lockdown.
If we are able to change what is in our control, along with ourselves and our ability to adapt - we can grow to be more resilient.
The question is: how can we learn to adjust and adapt? This is something we all have had to do in our lifetimes, at one point or another.
We know we can do it, but these skills can always be improved. We may also need some reminders on how to actively adjust and adapt to the situations that come our way.
Here’s some tips on how to adjust and adapt:
1. Improve your problem solving skills
This concept may seem so simple and easy that many breeze over it. Additionally, when an individual is stressed or in-the-moment, they may not fully consider what it actually means to problem solve.
Take a breath, set aside some time to commit to this process, and follow these steps to improve your problem solving ability:
- Analyze the problem and your goals
- Generate possible solutions
- Identify pros and cons of each solution
- Choose the best solution and create an action plan
- Implement the solution and review the problem-solving process (make the required changes)
Consider writing the process down and discussing alternative solutions with others. This will offer you a variety of solutions and perspectives on how you can adjust and adapt to meet your goals.
2. Focus on your values
Ask yourself what it is that you value – family, friends, religion, creative expression, learning, etc. If we can recognize what we value, we can see that one challenge won’t change our identity, and it may give us a better perspective to say that it is okay to embrace the change to come.
3. Don’t forget about self-care
Self-care does not solely mean some dimly lit candles around a bubble bath. Self-care also includes things we do to improve our mental, emotional and physical health.
Practicing self-care can help reduce stress and help us deal with everyday issues. For example, going for a run outside, nature walks, yoga, journaling, or reading.
4. Celebrate the small wins
When we are bombarded with change, it can be easy to focus on the negative things. However, we need to give ourselves some compassion and recognize the positives in these experiences.
Start a gratitude journal or a “done list” to track all the small wins to remind yourself of what’s been going right.
Show some self-compassion because we know that change isn’t easy, and we need to celebrate when things are going well – even if it's saying that you tried something different today.
5. Remember that we are better together
Try involving others into your process of adjusting and adapting. Although connecting with someone may look different now, we can still help support one another in this journey.
Check in on your family, friends, and community and see how they are adjusting and adapting.
Try some of these tips to grow your abilities to adjust and adapt to the curve balls life throws at you. Your “new normal” may come sooner than you think.
This blog was written by Renee Lau, an Occupational Therapy student at Queen's University.