THE NEW NORMAL
How Covid-19 is forcing us to change our lifestyle and navigate uncertainty
More than one year ago, Covid-19 started and nobody thought it would be a life-changing event. Today, across the world, people are following similar lockdown or social distancing rules. People are deeply concerned about the impact of COVID-19, both from a health and economic perspective. We all feel rushed by anxiety, turmoil, and uncertainty and are craving to regain a safe and convenient life. Trust in governments is declining, due to broken promises, missing financial support during shutdown of economy, limited health care and postponed start of vaccination, leading to even more uncertainty. Honest and transparent communication is important to have a chance to focus on the topics, which are under control, and to maintain at least partly, a positive mindset. (1) (2)
COVID-19 HOW WE FEEL TODAY
The expression “new normal” is becoming increasingly popular as Covid-19 pandemic lingers on. What does it mean? Washing hands, wearing the mask, social distancing, working from home, and shopping online? According to Wikipedia, a “new normal” is a state to which an economy or society settles following a crisis, which can be for example a global recession or a pandemic (3). In our case, the “new normal” is the second challenge that we have to face. First, we have to cope with lifestyle changes during lockdown. Second, we need to adapt the new way of life, after the pandemic has lost its risk and a significant number of the population is vaccinated. The re-opening of economies is no returning back to our old lifestyle and we need resilience and adaptability to manage this period successfully. In other words, to survive Covid-19 as individual and as society, we need to stay healthy, both physically and mentally.
NEW NORMAL – WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
Vital Solutions | Germany
Sybille Buchwald-Werner is German and studied pharmacy at the Heinrich-Heine University of Düsseldorf. She did her PhD in pharmaceutical chemistry, specializing in molecular modeling and has over 20 years’ experience in the natural product industry. She is co-founder and managing director of Vital Solutions. Vital Solutions works globally in the field of natural ingredients for the nutrition and health industry.
FASCICOLO SPONSORIZZATO DA
As soon as people realized that it is not possible to get back, a thinking process started to compare and evaluate pre and during Covid-19 lifestyle. Not surprisingly, people prefer to remain the new lifestyle in many cases.
Positive impact on relationships
We acknowledged our surrounding differently and established relationships to people, who we did not recognize before, while living our busy life. We found digital ways to connect with families and friends, even improving the frequency of interactions by spontaneous video calls. In Germany, we are overwhelmed by the readiness for volunteer work. Neighbors are offering help to go grocery shopping for quarantined people. In North-Rhine-Westphalia 5000 pharmacists volunteered to reconstitute the Covid-19 vaccine. Sure, we want to maintain this positive development of the society.
Better work-life balance
51% of consumers chose “time for myself” amongst their top three life priorities.
At the beginning of the crisis, many people felt like all takes twice as much time, effort, and energy to do tasks, while struggling with fatigue, frustration, and anxiety. Going through, many people are able to see the positive aspects, like the additional free time as they do not need to commute to the office, spending hours in traffic. They also started to structure their time for family, work and housework more synergistically. 64% of professionals think work from home will become a long-term change. Employees who are working from home are broadly positive about the experience and many feel more productive and professionally (4).
49% of consumers intended to put more money into savings in the next 12 months than at the beginning of 2020. Access to goods needs to be easy, local, and safe. The solution is online shopping. 37% of consumers shared their data to receive personalized and targeted offers – 40% would be comfortable receiving a delivery via drone or robot. Fashion and beauty routines are shifting to casual and comfortable stretchy styles, while there is a tendency that food and beverage shifts to an affordable premium level, to create restaurant like meals at home. (4)
Ever-increasing focus on health
We all want to maintain the higher hygiene level. We are going to remember to cover our mouths when we cough, to sanitize our hands after touching anything else because we know what can happen if we do not. Looking in different published studies about lifestyle changes and impact on bodyweight, physical activity and mood, mood is the only aspect showing a general trend. 73% of consumers rate depression and mental health as currently having a moderate or severe impact on their everyday life. (4) (5) (6)
Commitment to strengthen education
Most governments decided to temporarily close educational institutions in an attempt to reduce the spread of Corona virus. The structure and size of families’ economic, social and cultural capital produced significant differences in the learning opportunities for children from different backgrounds. While the economic costs of closing businesses arise immediately, limitation in education has unpredictable, negative effects on economy in the long term. (7) (8)
NEW NORMAL – WHAT DO WE WANT?
It is all about communication. There cannot be enough exchange and if we have the feeling of over-communicating, it might be just the right level. Information gives comfort and peace of mind. We need to express our new needs and reset boundaries. Feedback, polite and awarding, is important to establish and maintain relationships as well as teams with mutual trust. One may say this is not new, this was always the foundation of successful partnerships and organizations. Yes, exactly, and today it is even more important as the uncertainty has increased.
Today’s communication depends on technologies that enable digitization & virtualization.
Work from home or home schooling is only possible if technologies for remote access, file sharing, digital meetings, and online training options provide the same efficiency like face-to-face meetings. New routines need to be established to be focused and maintain a good mood. A designated space at home to work or study, work out and for social contacts helps to define the beginning and the end of work, and supports motivation to work and to relax.
Adaptation to the “new normal” forces us to think about our lifestyle and gives the change to implement changes to invest into a healthier future. A healthy lifestyle is a balance between work, food intake, exercise and sleep. The longer we feel stressed and anxious by Covid-19, the greater is the likelihood to get into a burnout or develop a stress related health issues, like e.g. diabetes or CVD.
HOW DO WE GET THERE?
Adapting to the new normal is a novel situation in our lifetime and it is affecting everyone individually. Adaptation is a process and everybody has its own challenges, emotions and speed. Be gentle and kind to yourself. Respect and be patient to others.
Recognize little steps and celebrate them. Celebration is important to generate recognizable events. We need to create good memories, because without memories time goes fast and this means life goes fast. Remember: The only constant in life is change.