Managing Expectations Around The New Normal

Published: Jun 17, 2020

Alberta transitioned into relaunch Phase 2 last Friday. If you are feeling unsure of what to expect over the coming weeks and months, you can take comfort in knowing that you are not alone — no one has ever been through anything like the COVID-19 pandemic before.

As restrictions intended to control the spread of the virus are relaxed, public spaces and retailers are being opened up, and hairdressers, movie theatres and gyms are gearing towards welcoming their patrons again, with safety enforcements in place.  However, even as life begins to “return to normal,” certain things will undoubtedly look different.

How are you feeling about this relaunch process?  Ask yourself this question from time to time. Sometimes we have to stop and actually think about it or check in with ourselves, to know where we stand.

It is important to ask yourself this question, because self-awareness is the starting point to developing an action plan to help yourself.

It is hard to say with absolute certainty what life post-pandemic will be like—especially in the coming months—so it is important to manage your expectations and prepare yourself for differences.

Have you started to think about stepping outside your home and asking yourself what is my routine going to look like? Are you going to change? How are you going to change?

Many organizations are letting employees work from home until the end of the year, while others expect their staff to return to their workplace, gradually, in phases.  

If you have to go back to a more traditional work environment, your organization may implement policies such as wellness checks before you enter the building, more physical space between employees, limits on the number of people allowed in a meeting room, and lunches eaten at desks rather than in communal spaces like kitchens and cafeterias.

Running your day-to-day errands will remain different for some time. The shopping experience will be different. Some stores may continue to limit the number customers allowed inside at once, and shoppers may be required to follow directional signage to get from one side of the store to the other. Several stores that are relaxing restrictions are still allowing curbside pickup for non-essentials stores, and some retailers are requiring all customers to wear facemasks while shopping.

You may have many questions in your mind, especially, as a caregiver. Is it safe to go to the park or to the hairdresser? Is everyone going to wear masks and observe physical distancing? Would there be more cases? What if I get infected?

It is possible that some might continue to follow the advice to wear masks and observe physical distancing, and others may not. As you are aware, you can only control your behavior and you just have to accept if others choose to behave differently.

Stay up to date on the guidelines recommended by Alberta government and health authorities. Staying informed, following guidelines, and being patient will give you the confidence to thrive in the new reality.

In situations of doubt, it is a good idea to gather facts, think carefully through the situation, assess the pros and cons and make an informed decision. Here are the five steps to improved decision making:

Step 1: Consider what is at stake

Step 2: Gather all pertinent facts

Step 3: Identify alternatives

Step 4: Analyze pros and cons, ands risks

Step 5: Choose the best option and take action

As a caregiver, you might be worried about getting infected. If you are worried, develop a contingency plan, involving others from your support system in the planning process and assign care to the next best person in your support system, should the need arise. Have all paperwork ready, including information about the person’s care plan, medication timings, doctors and other allied care providers, and keep them in an accessible place.

If you are struggling with anxiety or worry due to the changes that the COVID-19 pandemic and the relaunch have brought, know that this is normal. Some people can be more affected than others.  Uncertainty and the emotions that it brings with it can be quite difficult. Speak to your doctor, a mental health professional, or a counsellor, if it is affecting your health and wellbeing.

Article written by Padmaja Genesh, Alzheimer Society of Calgary Learning Specialist.