Adjusting to our new ‘normal’

With restaurants and cafes now opening their doors, many of us are rejoicing. We can now visit family and friends… outside the house!!! (maintaining our 1.5m, of course). Whilst for some it’s a time to embrace what we have endured; others are feeling an increased sense of anxiety because let’s face it, something like this has never happened before.

Before all the craziness, all lockdown meant to a student was the unlikely act of visitors trespassing their school. However now, it has got a whole new definition, along with a whole new community of slang (iso, rona, you name it, Aussies have thought of it).

Right now, some students might be feeling nervous about what their ‘new normal’ life at school looks like. To help navigate this uncertain time, why not give these next steps a go:

  1. Check in: Ask your students how they are feeling. It might be fun to be able to go to a café or see a friend, but deep down the anxiety of going back to school and adjusting might be present. Ask questions and listen.
  2. Accept their feelings: Whether students are excited or not about what is to come in the next few months, make sure whatever it is, it’s okay. Validating students’ feelings, no matter what they are, is important in ensuring their transition back to ‘normal’ is as easy as can be.
  3. Limit Media Exposure and Use: Try not to watch too much news or participate in discussion that could cause students to worry. Focus on reputable sources for your information and encourage students to analyze the messages presented by the media.
  4. Take Small Steps: Start with a trip to the supermarket. Then move onto the shopping centre or going out to a café for breakfast. Incorporating these activities back into students’ life one small step at a time can help eliminate or reduce the fears regarding returning to ‘normal’ life.
  5. Exercise: Don’t remove the daily walk. Whilst in isolation, I’m sure you and your students have been taking the excuse to go for a walk outside to get some fresh air. There is no reason why this must stop. Exercise can be a great way to reduce stress or anxiety. Keeping in the routine of going for a walk might even help in making things feel not so different.
  6. Sleep: Getting enough sleep in both preparing to go back to school and in general with dealing with anxious thoughts can help relieve some of the anxieties. Encourage earlier bedtimes if they’ve slipped a bit during isolation.