My New Normal: How My life Has Changed...

My New Normal: How My life Has Changed Since 2020 Because Of the Pandemic and Changes in Society (French version available)

by Tiffany Chang
Jobs People Do | JobsPeopleDo.com

I’ll never forget the moment I found out that the whole world shut down. I was in my fourth year of university and, along with my fellow students, would have to continue classes remotely. Though things wouldn’t be the same, I (luckily) adapted quickly because this wasn’t the first time I completed courses online.

My family and I remained as vigilant as we could. We only went out for necessities and created new habits like wiping down our groceries before putting them away. We also (like most others) got used to wearing masks when out in public as well as social distancing.

While this was all occurring, people were noticing a spike in hate crimes towards those who are of Chinese/Asian descent. As someone who is Chinese, I felt alarmed and infuriated. Overall, this era of COVID-19 made me worry about things that I never was concerned about before.

Through all of this, people were also discussing (and are continuing to discuss) the importance of looking after their mental health. I’ve always thought that it’s great how people are generally more open about it nowadays and was glad professionals were speaking on the significant impact these last two years have had on people in this respect. Ironically however, I didn’t realize how much the pandemic has affected my mental health specifically until I was preparing for my graduation ceremony.

My in-person ceremony was one of the first to take place since March 2020… and I was dreading it with every fibre of my being. I have had issues with social anxiety for several years and staying at home only made things worse. I knew that I should’ve been grateful to participate in an in-person ceremony (and I was), but the idea of being around so many people again after such a long time made me feel incredibly anxious. That night, after the ceremony happened and all the excitement was over, I couldn’t handle suppressing my feelings anymore and everything eventually spilled out.

I guess one could say that my life has changed in a way where this situation has forced me to take inventory of what I need to do for myself. When I was much younger, I adopted an (unhealthy) habit of containing my negative emotions as a way to power through various challenges and it also never seemed like I had a proper outlet to express how I felt. This containment has caught up to me lately, so I recognize now how it’s crucial for me to find effective ways to care for my own mental health.

These past couple of years have forced me to take a closer look at how I deal with things emotionally. The difficult part now for me is letting go of this years-old habit and allowing myself to properly deal with my emotions. A hindrance is my self-esteem as I must recognize that I actually deserve to do so. I also tend to be very tough on myself, which has worked out in certain areas of my life, but I now understand that this shouldn’t be the case where long-term emotional issues are concerned.

All in all, there are a lot of things I need to address, but major lessons I’ve learned during the pandemic is to remain more aware of how things are impacting me and ensuring I make better choices for myself. I know I’m a work-in progress, so engaging with this kind of reflection more often will help me navigate what needs to be done for my well-being.

Leave a comment!