“What is normal going to look like now?”
This is a question being echoed by a considerable amount of Canadians as it appears that the panic of Covid-19 is winding down and we are slowly emerging from our isolation, opening our eyes and taking stock of what the world around us looks like and will look like in the foreseeable future. It’s an inarguable fact that our concept of normal will need some redefining.
In many ways for many people, this idea is frightening. But I find myself wondering if this might be the perfect opportunity to transform the status quo into something healthier and more beneficial to us culturally and individually. Prior to our forced hibernation, the word normal for many people could describe:
· Reliance on heavily processed or pre-made meals because we don’t have time to cook.
· An unhealthy work/life balance resulting in stress, depression, relationship strain, poor self care.
· Coming home and binge-watching Netflix because we’re too tired to get out and enjoy life.
· The avoidance of family members and friends because we “don’t have time” for them.
· Looking at exercise as a “chore that must be done” or something to be avoided
These are just a few examples but I’m sure any reader could add 10 more bullet points that directly pertain to their own normal.
Being careful not to minimize just how difficult and challenging the first 6 months of 2020 have been for most people; like African violets poking through the snow-covered ground, I’ve seen some really beautiful trends shining through the darkness of isolation.
With the worry of food supply disruption, I have seen people baking their own bread. I have seen people making soups, chili and pasta sauces from scratch and freezing them for later use. I was asked to help multiple friends build garden boxes because the idea of growing our own food started to make a lot of sense.
With most people being forced out of work or required to work from home I have seen people start to re-evaluate how much time they were actually needing to put into their work, rethinking what made them happy and finding creative ways to pursue projects and endeavors that really interested them.
Ok, lets be honest...there was still a lot of binge-watching Netflix…but how many people started to realize just how boring that gets? How many people reconnected with old friends and started to really enjoy their family face-time chats and wondered why they hadn’t taken more time to appreciate their loved ones before Corona virus forced them to?
And how many people just NEEDED to go outside for a walk, a run, a hike, a bike ride, a pickup game of basketball, toss the Frisbee around, go to a fitness class, lift a weight….give a friend a high 5 because you both just NAILED that hill!
For those who had taken their bodies for granted and avoided exercise, the thought of getting out and moving became a treat, something to look forward to, something desirable. Nothing stirs appreciation for a thing more than its absence and if this pandemic has taught me nothing else, it’s that the things we take for granted can sometimes through no fault of our own be taken from us.
Let’s make a healthy lifestyle our new normal. Let’s nourish our bodies with real foods, pursue endeavors that uplift our hearts and minds, spend more time with the people in our lives and less with the people on our screens. And let’s move! Not just because we need to but because we can, and it feels so good. Join a gym, climb a mountain, take a stroll through your neighborhood and do it with a smile because you can. That feels like a far less scary normal than the old one to me.