In these uncertain times it’s hard to even imagine what the future might look like but we should try to plan for it. The Corona virus is leading our actions right now and until there is wider testing and/or a vaccine our “new normal” is bound to be dramatically different. In fact, it’s likely that our world will never be the same but in the long run it could become something even better. So let’s go there – what could “new normal” look like?

Social distancing is here to stay

Social Distancing is here to stay 

This is one thing nearly every expert agrees upon. Face masks, 6 feet social distancing and self isolating when possible are part of every scientifically based recommendation. What does this look like in our daily lives? 

  • When restaurants open they will set fewer tables 6 feet apart. Waiters, chefs and staff are likely to be tested and/or wearing masks and gloves.
  • Non-essential shops will begin to open but will limit the number of people allowed inside and will require social distancing. Employees will wear masks and gloves. You will likely wear a mask as well.
  • Large events are going to be curtailed. The guidelines for what is acceptable is being derived by each state. Masks, gloves and social distancing will be practiced. It is likely that if you go to church or to a group event that people will be wearing masks and gloves and/or practicing social distancing. It does seem that nearly all large events (with 100+ people) are being cancelled or postponed. 
  • So far, 30 states have cancelled the return of public school for this year and are seeking solutions for the re-opening in the Fall. The largest challenge is around social distancing given class sizes and controlling small children to maintain distance from one another. Schools are considering moving to rolling school schedules so that they can practice safe distancing (meaning school will run year round). Classes that can be done on-line will continue to be offered as well.
  • Parks, Beaches and other public spaces will begin to open. It is likely that you will continue wearing a mask and/or gloves and will practice social distancing when possible. Parks and beaches have proven to be particularly problematic as people tend not to follow guidelines. Some of these spaces may need to be monitored by the park rangers or other authorities to help safely control the flow of traffic.

We will need to learn to do more with less 

There is likely to be less money, less food and less jobs. We are headed to a deep recession so we are all going to need to find ways to make every dollar count. Things you can do to help yourself:

Cut your costs – There are options available right now. 

  • Insurance companies are offering breaks and discounts
  • Rent relief – There are national programs but you can also just contact your landlord and see what and if there is a solution that works for both of you. Landlords would rather get something vs nothing.
  • Refinancing – Interest rates are at an all time low so consider your car, house, other loans.
  • Consider a roommate. This will cut costs and also potential help someone in need.
  • Evaluate what you truly need and what you can live without. Take a good look at you’r monthly bills – drop apps you don’t use, the gym or any other monthly fees that you aren’t using or don’t need. Do you need a car(s)? Can you live in a smaller space? Do you need some of the objects you have? If not, trade and sell them for something more manageable. 
Cooking saves money, controls ingredients and contamination.

Alter your habits – Many of the current shortages are teaching us to conserve, create and save. Examples of this include:

  • Cooking in general saves money and helps you to control your food safety and ingredients
  • Try making your own bread 
  • Freeze and can foods you’ve made 
  • Use a kitchen towel vs paper towels
  • Use a cloth napkin vs paper napkins
  • Walk vs drive, if/when you can
  • Seek a new or additional job. There are some companies hiring and others are interviewing and extending offers for a later start date.
  • If you have a hobby you enjoy consider selling what you make on Etsy or other sites. This could help provide income and also keep you busy during time in self isolation.

Plant a Garden – If your lucky enough to have the land to plant and grow your own food, now would be the perfect time to do so. Food shortages are likely to continue and a garden enables you to have fresh produce, save money and get some exercise in a safe environment. The Almanac outlines how to start your own garden.

Be Prepared to Adapt and Re-adapt

Finding our way through our “new normal” is going to require us to be flexible and nimble. The Heraclitus quote,“Change is the only constant in life.” has never been more true. Experts expect a vaccine to become available in 1-2 years so there is going to an evolution vs revolution of change. Most people don’t like change so if your one of those it’s time to buckle up. If your struggling with change, Huffpost outlines 3 ideas to accept change. Studies show that people who embrace and anticipate change are more successful. If you need more reasons to proactively embrace change check out attitudeisaltitude, 7 reasons embracing change can be a good thing.

In summary, It’s a new day with new challenges and new opportunities. Take one day at a time. Find a comfortable mask and gloves and plan your personal “new normal”. It’s important for each person to determine what is best for them based on their circumstances and comfort level.

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Dr. Vanessa Rodriguez is a board-certified general practitioner with more than 15 years of patient care experience. She takes an integrative approach to patient care that considers the whole person – mind, body, and spirit – and is deeply committed to assisting her patients in achieving and sustaining optimal health. Dr. Vanessa is also a skilled writer and medical reviewer, specializing in preventive care and health promotion. Her articles are written in an approachable manner that is simple to comprehend and implement in one’s own life. Dr. Vanessa’s mission is to equip her patients and readers with the knowledge and resources necessary to live their greatest lives.

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