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How’s the Post-pandemic New Normal Working for You?

5 strategies to improve your balance and resilience in today’s reality.

Key points

  • The pandemic upended habitual routines, priorities, plans, and actions; for many people, things still feel unsettled.
  • A broadened, balanced perspective can offer a holistic vantage point for developing creative, practical, and resilient solutions.
  • Endings, transitions, and changes are part of life, and there are skills and practices we can learn to help ourselves increase our resilience.

Many of us are in a different headspace than we were before the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020. The pandemic upended our lives, disrupted our habitual routines, and interfered with our desires, priorities, plans, and actions. Things may still feel quite unsettled. With COVID-19 variants; political, economic, and social divisiveness; and tensions across the world, we may be yearning for a more satisfying balance in the new normal.

Source: Silvia/Pixabay

In my own life, some things that worked before aren’t working now as today’s changing realities crash into how I’ve been functioning. For example, how do I effectively manage my time in the new normal? I began some new activities remotely during the quarantine period. How do I manage my time to keep going with these activities as I also return to all that I used to do and the people I used to see before the limitations of the pandemic lifestyle?

As I talk with people, it seems that many are finding the uncertain, prolonged transition quite challenging. According to William Bridges, Ph.D. (2023), transitions progress in three general phases:

  1. an ending in which something is over or fading, requiring us to let go of the familiar;
  2. an in-between or neutral zone, where our “inner work” is often done as we adjust to the change—the loss of the old reality—and we begin to create space and processes for what’s next; and
  3. the emergence of new beginnings as we re-orient to the new realities and refresh our understandings, roles, and practices.

As you navigate your own transitions through current realities, how can you strengthen your resilience and balance? Resilience is the process of adapting well to life’s challenges so you can adjust or bounce back. Resilience doesn’t remove the cause of the transition, suffering, or distress; rather, it’s the pathway to help you more effectively deal with the circumstances you face. We all react differently to life’s stresses and difficulties, so resilience can be a very personal process for each of us.

5 Ways to Move Toward Greater Resilience and Balance

  1. Understanding that transitions, change, and impermanence are part of life and learning to adapt as life shifts: Life is filled with ambiguities and the call to adjust. Much of life is lived in the “gray zone.” Most situations are not black or white but evolve on a continuum. Sharpening your ability to embrace uncertainty recognizes the gray aspects of life's flow. The optimal course is not always apparent at first glance. Opening to the range of possibilities during uncertain, murky situations and emotions can help you refrain from rushing into premature conclusions and actions—and there are usually multiple ways to approach challenges.
  2. Seeing the big picture: Ask yourself, "How much will this matter in a month, a year, or 10 years?" A broadened, balanced perspective can offer a more holistic vantage point for developing creative, practical, and resilient solutions. When you feel overwhelmed, stressed, and vulnerable, you may lose perspective. Engaging the wisdom within and attuning to what's really important can clarify priorities. Consider what you have control over and what you cannot control.
  3. Leaning on relationships and building a good support system: Maintaining and building positive connections is a powerful strategy to help you pilot through challenging situations. As you navigate conflicts and challenges, your connections, relationships, and supports can offer a guiding light and helping hand when you are floundering. Christopher Peterson (2006), a founder of positive psychology, is known for emphasizing that "other people matter."
  4. Trying to increase your dose of positive emotions each day: For example, try engaging with sources of humor and joy; learning to be optimistic—seeing the glass half full rather than half empty; experiencing and sharing thankfulness and gratitude; noticing the beauty of the natural world; and reaching out to share caring, fun, meaningful moments with others.
  5. Engaging in practices to help you calm and relax: How can you offer yourself intermissions during the day? Whether you choose walking in natural surroundings, exercise, breath awareness, meditation, or contemplative prayer, these kinds of practices can help to strengthen resilience and balance.

The objective is not to empty the mind but to open toward calm and mindful attention. You might try taking a mindful breath to create a pause to get centered before responding in a difficult situation. Focusing briefly on your breathing with the intention to calm yourself can help you slow down. One or several breaths can create the difference between an automatic, visceral reaction and a more measured, planful response.

Here’s to your resilience and thriving in life’s new normal!

Copyright © 2023 Ilene Berns-Zare, LLC, All Rights Reserved.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. No content is a substitute for consulting with a qualified mental health or health care professional.

A version of this post also appears on the Ilene Berns-Zare Coaching Web site.


Bridges, W. (2023). Bridges transition model.

Brooks, R. & Goldstein, S. (2004). The Power of Resilience: Achieving Balance, Confidence, and Personal Strength in Your Life. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

Peterson, C. (2006). A Primer in Positive Psychology. New York: NY: Oxford University Press.

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