Is this normal?

I’ve seen things on social media that talk about that we are entering a “new normal” and others saying that “this isn’t normal, so let us not pretend that it is”. I’ve seen information saying we are not “homeschooling” our children but rather helping educate them during a quarantine. I’ve seen posts encouraging people to find a new skill or hobby and others saying the opposite; that your only mission right now is to survive.

All of these are true. And at the same time; none of these are true.

What’s helpful for one person may not be helpful for another. Someone with a sick family member may need to just operate in the hour by hour right now and do what they can to care for their family. For someone who is recently unemployed but loves to learn, maybe taking up a new skill or hobby is exactly what they need to do. For a parent who has wanted to spend time with their kids, maybe this distance learning together is just what they need, while for a another who’s burnt out after working from home each day and making so many decisions, needs to just veg out and watch Netflix in the evening.

Ultimately, everything during this time comes back to our mindsets. The way we approach this time is the way we will live out this time. If we come at it with fear, we will live fearfully. If we come to learn, we will take away new lessons. If we look at it with anxiety, we will be anxious. If we embrace it as opportunity, we will grow.

I looked up what defines “normal” online, and this is what it says, “conforming to a standard; usual, typical, or expected”. Many of us are over 3 weeks into social distancing and at the same time have at least 4 remaining based on social distancing guidelines. Because of the guidelines set in place, being home for the next four weeks is to be usual and expected.

What’s best for my own mindset is to treat this as my new, albeit temporary, normal. It is different than before, and is also different than it will be in a few months. But during this expected time I’m at home, this is what I’m to expect.

No matter the situation, I try (and often fail), at doing things my future self will thank me for. Sometimes this means refilling my Brita pitcher when it’s empty, other times it’s taking laundry from the washer to the dryer right away to avoid washing it a third time. Some days it’s a morning run, and other days it’s a nap.

Rather than counting the number of days I have left during social distancing, I want to make each day count.

Making my days count brings is my mindset. This means getting outside every day regardless of weather. It includes working out every day, going for a 1 mile walk, Facetiming with friends and family, sending cards, cooking meals, prayer, binging a TV show or two, napping, watching too much TikTok, and reading books. It includes planning meals for reduced trips to the grocery store, writing blogs when I feel like it and less when they were previously “scheduled”. It looks like a later bedtime some days and an earlier one on others.

But no matter what, every day is heavy on grace; both for myself and for others. While I try to be intentional to grow myself each day, some days I just want to lay on the couch and nap and read or watch Jack Ryan or When Calls the Heart on Amazon and that is okay.

My temporary normal doesn’t look like yours. We are different people with different responsibilities and different lives. My encouragement to you is this: treat this like a new normal, even if it’s only for another month. Change your own mind. Rather than waiting for what once was to come back, or something new and easy to arrive, embrace where you are. Make mindful choices that your future self will thank you for and embrace this as an opportunity to grow rather than just to survive as much as possible.

This is temporary. But it’s also “normal”.

Sending prayers for healing, peace, wisdom, encouragement, joy and discernment to each of you reading this. We will get through this. And we will be stronger for it.

Till next time,