But I don’t want a new set of rules! I don’t want to change. I want everything to go back to the way it used to be. Oh sunshine, I get it, more than you know! It’s difficult when life is completely altered due to an illness, health condition, death, financial situation, divorce, or any other situation beyond your control. How do you adjust to the new normal? Here are 7 strategies. Even if you don’t wanna.
I remember going through cancer treatment was the first time I heard the phrase “new normal.” I had no idea what it meant but I quickly became un-fond of it. I fought this crappy new normal tooth and nail.
There was one time after treatment, I was running out of the hospital hurrying to pick up Stepson from school on time. Click clack click clack my heels quickly scurried down the hallway. I literally ran into an elderly lady and nurse helping her. Thankfully they were both fine and no harm was done. I apologized, “I’m soooo sorry I’m late for picking up my Stepson. I don’t have time for cancer!”
New Old New Normal
That incident pretty much sums it up. I refused to let cancer take over my life. I didn’t want to have a new normal. I wanted my old normal back. My old normal of racing Xterra triathlons and being at the top of my career and multi-tasking all of that with taking care of my new family.
THAT was my normal!
Every time someone mentioned the phrase, I cringed. If words could get choked out, I would have done it. I hated that phrase more than anything else about cancer.
Because a new normal means that you are going to be changed to the core.
That you have to give up 100% control of what is yours and give it over to something beyond your control.
I don’t know about you, but I’m not a fan of change. I like things just the way they are.
Cancer is a pretty big game-changer. No. It’s a goliath-sized game-changer.
I learned to not necessarily accept the new normal, but find a place of the old normal and put it into the new normal. I affectionately called it my “New Old New Normal.”
It was the first time I had to learn about new normal. But not my last.
But Wait… There’s More!
Cancer was 9 months of treatment, but it was over and done.
Autoimmune Disease wakes me up every day and kicks my a$$. I have zero control over how I’m going to feel or if I have any energy that day. I don’t know if I’m going to be able to take a walk outside or a need a 5-hour nap.
The health crisis which brought on a totally new normal… again… totally sucked.
Oh and then the fatigue got so bad, my employer (illegally) rescinded my already approved FMLA and I was forced to resign a 6-figure job and cut my family’s income in half. We had to figure out how to survive in a metropolitan area on one salary. A financial new normal sucks too. Like big fart balls sucks. Sorry for the language… just keeping it raw and real here.
Mamma Fortitude passed in 2019. I had been trying to prepare myself for years with her being so sick that there would be a day that she is no longer with us. But nothing prepares you for that. Death and grief and life without Mamma Fortitude is now another totally sucky new normal.
Oh and then hello global pandemic of 2020. Every stinking day was adjusting to a new-new normal. Sigh…
There’s so much unknown about this thing called new normal. It’s like… going to Disney for the first time and it’s so big and epic and you have no idea what to expect but the excitement is totally worth it. Only completely opposite of that.
There’s no control.
You are “forced” into a situation you don’t want to be in.
You long for life the way it used to be, but it’s not looking good that you are able to go back.
So what now?
You can either fight it.
Or figure out how to adjust. Here are 7 strategies to help you get started.
7 Strategies to Adjust to New Normal
I guess what I’m trying to say is that life happens to all of us. And whether it is something big or something small, we need to adjust. We can’t always control what happens to us or around us, but we can control how we react to the situation.
Adjusting to a new normal doesn’t always have to be seen as a negative. Here are 7 strategies to help you cope, change your mindset, and adjust under your own terms.
1. It’s Ok to Feel Your Feelings
Mental health experts in many different fields agree on this one. There is a time and a place to be all up in your feelings. To feel the raw emotions of what you are going through. To feel the anger and the depression and the what-if’s, and the boo-hoo’s, and the woe-is-me’s.
Be present to those feelings.
But understand that there is also a time and a place to start letting go and start moving on.
2. Understand it’s a Process
Adjusting to a new normal isn’t going to happen overnight. The primal need is to fight it all the way. Understand that it’s a process to get from Point A to Point B. A baby doesn’t wake up one day and run a marathon. It learns to crawl first. And then walk and then run.
It’s a learning process.
And it’s going to be messy.
And that’s ok too.
3. Create a Routine
Routines are God’s gift to the foundation of your soul. Back to my Psych 101 days and Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs… after you have food, water, and warmth, your next primary needs are security and safety. Routines help to give those to you.
Try to find some routines from your old schedule and old comfort zone that you can continue to implement. If that’s impossible due to your new situation, then purposely create routines that feel good to you and give you that comfort and security.
4. Practice Gratitude
Gratitude is my #1 go-to. It literally changed my life!
It is scientifically proven that gratitude and negative emotions cannot live in the same space in your mind. It’s also been scientifically proven that gratitude helps to build mental strength… I call that fortitude. And more on that in a minute.
5. Look for Meaning
There are people who are Pollyanna’s. And then there’s me… the Hollyanna. I don’t know if it’s my faith or just my DNA but I always have to see the good in bad situations. After I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I knew deep down that it was a gift. I didn’t know what it meant at the time, but I rested on that until it came to surface.
You CAN respond to your situation by looking for its meaning and purpose.
What am I supposed to learn?
How is this supported to change me… for the good?
What is the positive that I can get out of this situation?
Who is the person I’m supposed to become because of this?
6. Practice Self Care
Self care is more than just lighting a candle and taking a bubble bath. It’s the old adage of putting on your oxygen mask first before helping someone else.
You 100% cannot pour anything out of an empty cup.
So fill yourself first and give yourself the self care that you need. Because chances are, you have some people in your life who take care of and who are depending on you. Take care of yourself first, fill your own cup first, and then you will have what you need to help everyone else through this situation.
7. Build Your Fortitude During the Storms
God gives us storms. You can either dance in the rain and wait for the rainbow or you can complain about getting wet. Remember when I talked about gratitude? Gratitude helps us to build fortitude during the storms of life.
And right now you’re in a storm.
When I was going through the storm of cancer, people always said that “cancer shouldn’t define you.” I disagree. Cancer defined that year for me and my family. Through heartache came a beautiful opportunity to help others and share love with women who are hurting.
Fortitude is not just to get you through the tough times, but to be able to reach out and help others through it too.
I was at rock bottom more than once. But I’ve been blessed to be able to use those experiences to advocate, motivate, and inspire others. Pink Fortitude was created out of those dark times to give light to you. And to help you share that light with others.
You’ve got this, my friend. I know you have it in you. Create the best out of your new situation and shine your light! Because that kind of normal is a really cool place to be.
Are you Inspired?
Be sure to download your FREE Gratitude Tracker and take the challenge!
Love, hugs, and making the new normal even better than the old one.
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