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The New Normal

Updated: Jul 4, 2022

Since the first case of COVID-19 was diagnosed in Australia on 25 January 2020, we have experienced firsthand the significant impact a pandemic can have on our nation, our community and our lives.

A recent study, by BMC Public Health, discusses the effects this pandemic has caused on individual daily life and how it has “triggered profound changes”.

As a Career Coach, I worked with clients through the shock of this pandemic, its constant evolution and now, the new normal. What I am seeing and reading in many articles is confirmed in this study.

Everyone experienced loss during COVID, “…whether it was the loss of a loved one, the loss of a job, or the loss of the sense of normalcy, people and communities experienced an impact on their lives because of COVID-19.”

“People’s trajectory of the future and their long-term hope and dreams have been impacted.”

Four main themes emerged from the data specific to hopes and dreams for the future: job stability, travel, reassessing values, and generational impact.

Job stability

Economic uncertainty, security and stability of employment were experienced by 1/4 of participants, unemployed and even those who were employed, they all spoke of considerable apprehension for their future.

Despite this overwhelming uncertainty, many found changing their work environment to a virtual landscape a positive thing and had many benefits; flexibility, reduced commuting, and additional time with family.

"Working from home is not an impossible dream,”


Many people's hopes and dreams for travel were surrounded by uncertainty, frustration, missing milestones and cancellations.
A recent retiree commented, “COVID has made me rethink travel,…if we do end up travelling it will be less planned, more spontaneous.”
People started considering plans to travel in their own backyard, “future travel will be in Australia instead.

Reassessing Values

The COVID-19 pandemic meant a change in profound and drastic ways.
For many participants, this change meant slowing down and appreciating the present as much as the future and realising the value of family above all else, “it has made me think more about making today count”.
Improvements to physical health and environmental health were mentioned repeatedly and see these positive impacts as something they would like to continue and retain in the future.
“The forced lockdowns have forced the world to change, and we can see the effects of it [on the environment]”.

Generational impact

Many participants expressed their concern for the younger generations and the future impact on their hopes and dreams.
Fears of the economic impact in years to come, concerns of mental health for younger populations were noted frequently.
Significant attention has already been put into place for these mental health consequences and we will continue to see many new initiatives and opportunities continue to arise, for all ages.

This research was conducted during the beginning of the pandemic, can you remember your emotional state and outlook at this time?

According to Diane Meyers and Leonard Zunin, Medical Experts in Trauma, describe the 6 stages communities often go through when confronted with disaster:

1. Pre-disaster: The fear of the uncertain.

2. Impact: The shock of the crisis.

3. Heroic: Feelings of altruism as communities unite.

4. Honeymoon: Feeling of camaraderie and optimism things will return to normal.

5. Disillusionment: Feelings of discouragement and abandonment creep in.

6. Reconstruction: Feelings of recovery as people adjust to their new normal.

As humans, going through a global pandemic, we are moving through these stages, constantly evolving and adapting to new situations. This one, in particular, has been big, I remember saying to my children we are living through a unique time in history.

As the world starts to open up, we are hopeful life will return to some kind of normality. Some of the effects on our daily lives have eased, some have gone back to normal and some will never be the same again.

Many people are experiencing fatigue - mentally, physically and emotionally from the chaos of the last few years. Positive changes they made during the pandemic are being challenged.

What positive changes did you make during the pandemic?

Have they been retained?

How can they still be a part of your life, long term?

For many of my clients, during the pandemic, was the first time they prioritised what was important and really took care of themselves.

Time Management = Priority Management = Self-Management.

It is not about time, it is not about priorities. It is about how good you are at self-management?

As Stage 6: Reconstruction, adjusting to a new normal is within our sights. We have to rebuild from the strengths, interests, values and confidence we gathered while we had the time to reassess.

This is our chance to create what this new normal looks like. Continuing to make time to put ourselves and our priorities first. Reflecting on our hopes, dreams and values, noticing how they have changed.

I wonder, what is going to be a part of your new normal?

I’d love to hear from you!

Organise your FREE Discovery Session I look forward to catching up.

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