I have been working with companies to bring mindfulness to their global offices on different continents.
We might think that the pandemic is over and in the blink of an eye, we can return to the new normal. But what is the new normal? Is there a standard? Each city, each country, and each culture have both navigated the pandemic and transitioned so differently in the post-pandemic world.
Each human being brings their own opinions, baggage, and experiences. For example, in one company, while folks in the UK want to work from the office and go grab drinks afterwards, the employees in their United States offices still prefer the work-from-home arrangement.
Fact: we have all navigated these past 2.5 years differently and will continue to transition into the coming days, months, and years in our own ways. There is no standard new normal. I don’t know about you, but going from sheltering in place to hanging out with friends and attending meetings in person hasn’t been exactly smooth for me. I am an extrovert and a storyteller, so being around others recharges me. Being able to hug others and the human connection overall is therapeutic. While the virtual world kept us going during the worst of times, it’s no match for in-person conversations or the energy exchange.
That said, from the buckle-down-at-home phase to meeting people in public and going to restaurants or doing in-person client or work meetings, after two years, it hasn’t been peachy. I am still Team Mask (and often the only one in many places), so I am never sure when to pull out the mask and when to wear it. I also have an autoimmune, so my heart and mind will seek safety and security more than others. Life at home in yoga leggings and a fancy top had become easy. Change into a tank top in the middle of the day and practice yoga or practice weight training. Cook a meal between meetings and rarely feel completely wiped out.
It took some convincing (more a note to self) to change out of my yoga leggings and start dressing up like an adult when meeting people. I write for a living, but forming full, coherent, casual sentences at gatherings was also a journey.
What is acceptable social etiquette these days? Are we hugging or doing air kisses or exchanging handshakes? I was at a backyard gathering (outdoors translates as safe in my world) recently, and a number of times, one person extended their arm and the other person thought they were going to hug. It was both awkward and hilarious. Let’s not forget the exhaustion—be it from talking to commuting to moving constantly. All the movement increases vata dosha, so you might struggle with shutting your mind. This impacts your sleep at night and your focus the following day.
Ayurveda reminds us that seasonal transitions are the most important times to remain mindful of your health, as the shifting weather can lead to “imbalances” of the mind and body. Apply the same logic to your life! Going from spring into summer two years after the start of the pandemic…is a little nerve-wracking. While many of us might not be comfortable with attending concerts or large indoor gatherings, the world has moved on.
Do you sit at home and sulk over FOMO? Or do you become brave, ignore your compromised immunity, and march into the temptations of summer?
When I seek answers to big life questions, I often turn to yoga and Ayurveda.
According to Ayurveda, we each need to honor our innate nature.
>> Be kind to your mind and body as we continue to explore the new normal in 2022.
>> You don’t need to rush anything.
>> Don’t compare yourself or your life to others.
>> Pause when you need to because we are still exhausted.
>> Move when you desire.
>> Be patient with yourself if you feel confused.
>> Don’t judge others if other people’s transitions don’t mirror yours.
>> Communicate with kindness what you can or cannot do.
Remember: we are all struggling and thriving in our own ways. Social media posts capture moments of people’s lives that they curate and then choose to share with you. Don’t let them fool you into believing one way is the best way to live. Transition into a new normal that acknowledges and respects who you are and what you need today.
“Change is situational. Transition, on the other hand, is psychological. It is not those events, but rather the inner reorientation or self-redefinition that you have to go through in order to incorporate any of those changes into your life. Without transition, a change is just a rearrangement of the furniture. Unless transition happens, the change won’t work, because it doesn’t take.” ~ William Bridges