5 TIPS FOR FACING A NEW (TEMPORARY) NORM
At first, it might have felt as though people were either overreacting or not reacting enough. Some of your friends may have even turned the whole thing into a joke. Maybe this came from genuine fear or a lack of understanding. Maybe a bit of both.
Then, there were the mixed messages. A few weeks ago, your parents and teachers may have reassured you by saying something along the lines of: “just because there’s a pandemic, it doesn’t mean everything will stop.” But within a matter of days, schools shut down. Public gatherings came to a grinding halt. Seemingly overnight, #canceleverything became a shorthand for this surreal new reality.
It’s an understatement to say these last few weeks have been upsetting. According to David Kessler (a foremost expert on grief and how we process it), the discomfort we’re all experiencing isn’t just sadness. It’s deeper than that. He calls it a collective sense of grief.
Kessler explains that we’re processing a sense of loss for what our lives were like before the pandemic, as well as anticipatory grief over the ways our lives will be impacted in the future. We’re going from this isn’t a big deal (denial), to I’m being forced to stay home and all the things I love are being taken away (anger), to ok, I’ll practice social distancing for two weeks and everything will go back to normal (bargaining), to I don’t know when this will be over (sadness).
According to Kessler, we can regain a sense of power through acceptance: This is happening. I have to figure out how to move forward.