Updated: Jun 25, 2021
In March of 2020, my family and I moved from my hometown in Arizona to Nevada. We moved exactly one day after the entire state of Nevada was put on Quarantine. It's crazy to think that nearly a year has already gone by. This post is more of a reflection on what the "new normal" has looked like for my family, my clients, and me.
1) Masks- I personally hate wearing them. I am a very expressive person, I use my hands and face to express what I say. I'd be awful at poker! I understand that due to local ordinances we must wear them and I try my best to adhere but sometimes I struggle with it and truth be told, sometimes I want to secretly rebel against it. Nonetheless, I comply.
2) Disinfecting/Cleaning- This has been the one thing that has baffled me. As a clinician, I don't know why it never occurred to me to disinfect or clean in between sessions. I mean, I cleaned before but it was more like simply straightening up in-between sessions (e.g. rearranging the pillows on the couch or chair, wiping down the sand tray areas, etc.). In hindsight, disinfecting the pillows, toys, sand tray, etc., is something I think we should have been doing long before the pandemic.
2a) Sanitizer- Having sanitizer available should also be something that should've been available everywhere not just in medical offices or hospitals. Right?!
3) Temperature Checking- This is something I only ever experienced when going to the doctor's or while having to go to the hospital; however, it makes sense to have it done wherever there are high traffic areas...like at the kiddo's schools, casino's, other public venues/events, etc. This makes sense to me, does it to you?
4) Virtual Everything- I was doing virtual sessions before it was the only thing we could do so this wasn't too new for me; however, it is new for me to have to complete virtual sessions with children (especially the younger ones). I find it a struggle and it's difficult to keep their attention.
4a) Time Management- I never realized how much the pandemic put all of our time management to the test because of everything transitioning from in-person to virtual we have all been forced to be cognizant of our time and the time of those we're interfacing with.
Whether it be teachers doing their best to teach our students, clinicians providing services to clients, or doctor's examining clients... having to truly be MINDFUL of TIME has become a thing. In retrospect, it should have always been a thing but as many of us have come to realize, we lived rather robotic lives with predictable outcomes and actions not giving a crap about anyone's time but our own.
5) Mental Health- This one is a big one for me, no, not because I am a therapist but
more because I have two kids at home (full-time) that are 10 years apart and I struggle with patience. Although, I am a therapist and identifying life themes and helping people increase positive coping skills is "my thing" it's also the largest facet of my life that reminds me I AM HUMAN. Sometimes I like to dissolution myself that "I know better so it should come naturally" (healthy boundaries, coping skills, etc.) and then BAM! the world reminds me, "Hi 'Dr' Monique- guess what!? You're not exempt...you're human!!" Then I find myself utilizing the same techniques I model for clients for myself. I am reminded that
I am ONE person and sometimes people need help, need a reminder that they're (a) not alone, (b) don't have to do everything alone; and, (c) it's okay.
The pandemic has caused multiple mental health issues in people who thought they were "fine," in relationships that "we're secure," and in families who "were good." The pandemic has brought us direct and indirect bereavement, isolation, loss of income, and fear all while triggering mental health conditions or exacerbating existing ones. Many people may be facing increased levels of alcohol and drug use, insomnia, depression, anxiety, suicidality, and/or homicidal.
Know that you're not alone and there is tons of help, you can check out some on the resources page:
All in all, my new normal consists of different lifestyle and behavioral changes that have grown to be part of my daily life and the life of my family. I realize that your new normal may be different than mine and that is okay.
I wish you safety, health, and many blessings!