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THE NEW NORMAL

THE NEW NORMAL

As COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc across the globe, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to escape the cloak of doom that has draped itself over our world. Confined to our homes and separated from our friends and family, it’s no wonder many of us are feeling anxious and unsettled.

After weeks of curfews, self-isolation and social distancing, we eagerly await confirmation that our lives can return to some kind of normality. In the meantime, however, we are bombarded with depressing facts and figures about infection and mortality rates. As if the lockdown itself isn’t bad enough, constant news updates guarantee to push us even further into the depths of despair. Regardless of whether we rely on TV, radio, social media channels or newspapers for our daily dose of doom, there’s no escaping the deluge of despondency that drains into our homes and minds.

Granted, coronavirus is the subject on everyone’s lips. It’s devastating to the point of life-changing and has infected almost every corner of the world. But in a time when anxiety and depression are prevalent, would it not be better to focus on the positive? Around the globe, amazing people are doing amazing things. Those in the health service are rightly receiving praise for their hard work and dedication in caring for the sick and whilst the efforts of others may not receive such widespread recognition, their contribution is still significant.

Take Captain Tom Moore, for example. The 100-year-old army veteran set about walking 100 lengths of his garden to raise money for the UK’s National Health Service. His intended target was £1,000 but his fundraising total now stands at over £30 million. What a treat to hear such an uplifting story amidst the monotonous misery.

The London Marathon, another casualty of COVID-19, should have taken place on Sunday 26th April. The event usually raises over £66 million for various charities. As an alternative, the so-called ‘2.6 Challenge’ was launched to encourage people to come up with a fundraising idea involving the numbers two and six. One man decided to run 2.6 miles backwards in 26 minutes. Someone else walked 2.6 miles but stopped to do 26 handstands along the way. Two children built a 2.6 metre tower of Lego and one imaginative lady made 26 costume changes whilst running up the stairs 26 times. Bravo!

Our freedom of choice may be restricted but we are still able to decide what to watch on the television, what news reports to give our attention to and how to deal with this ongoing pandemic. A positive mind-set is essential during this challenging period so focusing on the inspiring rather than the depressing is essential.

Of course, we don’t have to rely on news from the outside world, we can create our own uplifting stories, no matter how great or how small. We can also take satisfaction from the small changes we have made to our daily routines and endeavour to continue these new habits once the curfews and lockdowns have ended. Many of us are shopping for our elderly, sick or disabled neighbours. Some of us are donating money or food parcels to those in need. And, thanks to the wonders of modern technology, families all over the world are coming together on-line to support each other in this unprecedented period of uncertainty and dread. How wonderful it would be if these acts of kindness, generosity and love were to continue once restrictions have been lifted and virus fears have ceased.

Unfortunately, no-one knows when ‘normality’ will resume or indeed, if it ever will. I suspect life, as we know it, will never return to its pre-virus state. Social distancing in some countries is set to continue until the end of the year (and beyond). Restaurants, cafes and coffee shops must limit the number of customers allowed through their doors. And although the number of people visiting supermarkets and other stores may reduce, the queues to enter such premises will remain. That said, if we all continue to focus on the positive, be more tolerant, less selfish and more understanding, then surely, that can only be a good thing.

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