Navigating the New Normal

By Elsey Weisberg, MS, RD, LDN

When the pandemic hit, our day-to-day lives changed dramatically. Perhaps your social and professional interactions are now over Zoom (cue dog barking in the Zoom background). You may have new emotional, financial, or other struggles. Maybe you experienced a tragic loss. Perhaps you welcomed some changes. Nonetheless, likely you have experienced one or more of these scenarios and subsequently a wide range of emotions.

We are now in a season where living amidst a global pandemic is no longer “new.” Some of you may have built new routines and habits to manage changed lives and found ways to adjust to the ever-changing state of the world. Likely some of these changes were welcomed with open arms, and others were resisted or led to grieving.

The pandemic caused some parts of life to speed up and other parts to slow down. What are some things you learned about yourself during these unprecedented times? Whatever new feelings have come up for you, they may be lodging in your body in some way or form. Take some time to reflect on how your life has changed. Are there parts of your past routine that you miss and could re-integrate in some way? Has slowing down created some newfound benefits in your life? Are there new pleasures you hope to carry with you when it all ends?

Many people’s eating routines have been altered to accommodate new positions, new schedules, and new environments. Here are a few tips to make sure you stay fueled and satisfied in your new routine, in a way that is enjoyable for you:

  • Eat! In times of stress, our appetite can increase or decrease. Continue to eat at least 3 meals per day so your body remains nourished.
  • Prepare! Make sure to have easy ingredients on hand or pack a lunch in advance if you do not have time to cook during the day.
  • Take breaks! It can feel like a challenge to take breaks when there is less separation between work and home. Scheduling mindful breaks for yourself can reduce potential burnout and help you reconnect to your body’s natural needs and cues.
  • Try something new, if your current schedule allows. This is a great time to step into the unknown and see what unfolds.
  • Stay social! Food can be a social experience, even if the socializing takes place while planning or eating meals or snacks with friends and family over Zoom.
  • Remember that nourishing yourself can look different every day, and there is no “perfect way” to fuel your body. Give yourself permission to enjoy some comfort foods during these often-stressful times.
  • Move with intention and explore finding joy in movement. Social media marketing has capitalized on the pandemic as a way to tell people how they should move. Trust that your body will tell you when it craves movement and honor those feelings when you can.