By Paula Jacoby-Garrett & Rachel Ziter-Grant
You’ve made the history books – you are in the worst pandemic in 100 years, and all you want is life to go back to normal and to hang out with your friends. It is a confusing and unsettling time, but there are ways to move forward in our new normal. Having a flexible mindset or the ability to handle and adapt to change is key to living a happier, more successful life. There are several things you can do to create that mindset.
Foremost “be kind to yourself, says Maria Paxinos, LCSW, Director of Student Development, Adelson Educational Campus. “It is normal to have vacillating emotions, even all in one day. Remember, your best is different every day. Be kind and patient with yourself when you feel you are not performing up to your standards.”
The American Psychological Association1 suggests letting go of those things you can’t control like the uncertainty of what comes next. “Instead of worrying about our ambiguous future, focus on solving immediate problems.”
Keeping to a stable routine and consistent can help you stay grounded. “Evaluate the expectations you place on yourself. Are your expectations feasible in the midst of such uncertainty?” asks Paxinos. “Reflect on past successes in which you have successfully navigated difficult and confusing times. Use what you have learned and the strengths you have to move forward.”
And most importantly, reach out to others, whether it be a friend, parent, family member, teacher, or other trusted adult. “There is not one person who does not need support during this time. Our brains are wired for connections to others, which means our brain is intrinsically helping us to cope and manage difficult times” (Paxinos).
So while this is a new challenge for all of us – we can get through it by being easy on ourselves, going through it with others, and staying flexible.