3 Expert Tips On Coping With The ‘New Normal’ Of Coronavirus

We know that the coronavirus is not going anywhere. How are we going to live with it?

3 Expert Tips On Coping With The ‘New Normal’ Of Coronavirus Getty 

There are some tough choices to make as we move past coping with the COVID-19 coronavirus and onto living with this virus as the "new normal."

This past week, I was watching the early morning news as I do every morning, and caught an interview with a mental health professional from Northside Hospital in Atlanta.

This professional, Nikeisha Whately, is the manager of Behavioral Health Services. Ms. Whately said something that resonated with me. Something I've been wondering about.


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She said that this virus, as much as we want it to just disappear, isn't going anywhere.

We have choices to make if we're going to move past just coping with the virus to thriving. Ms. Whately said we can keep the "3 Rs" in our heads to guide us. They are: "Refresh, Refrain, and Reconnect."

I have been thinking about these three concepts all week.

What do they mean, and how will they help us make choices to do more than cope with life right now? Then, I thought about my mother and some of the things she taught me.

Here are 3 expert tips for how you can start coping with the "new normal" of coronavirus.

1. Refresh.


My mother was a talented gardener and flower arranger. I would often find her in her garden thinking about adding a few plants to refresh a bed. This would give that bed a different focus.

When I get bored at my house, one of the things I like to do is refresh my view. I move furniture around so that the room looks and feels different.

Many people have refreshed their homes by working on their organization.

As our towns, cities, and states begin to open, you can refresh yourself by getting outside and enjoying the sunshine while maintaining appropriate physical distancing.

Each of us as individuals or as family units have choices to make as to how you dip your toes in the water and navigate this new world.


When daycare centers resume, families will decide if they will send their children to daycare, or if they can afford to have one of the parents stay home with their child. This is their personal choice to make.

2. Refrain.

Ms. Whately asked people to refrain from listening to negative self-talk. This is great advice, no matter what else is going on in the world.

When you listen to the negative thoughts in your head, you slide down a slippery slope.

You can make the choice to change the channel and power up some positive energy. Think about the cup being half-full instead of half-empty. Think about the blessings in your life, no matter how small.

Do you use a journal? If not, consider starting one. Write down three good things that happen each day. Here is one to start you off: You woke up this morning. That's one very good thing.


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Refrain from saying negative things. You may have something negative to say about someone or something. Think first if that is your best option.

My mother used say, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” I try to stick to this and sometimes hear her voice in my head after saying something negative.

That voice says to me, “Did you really need to say that?”

Quite often, my silent answer to my mother is, "No, that was the wrong choice to make."

Another thing to refrain from is passing judgment. Try not to judge others for the decisions they make, as long as that decision is not causing you harm. Try as you may, you don't ever know someone’s story unless they choose to share it with you.


3. Reconnect.

You may have been connecting and reconnecting through Zoom, FaceTime, Messenger, Skype, and other technologies these past many weeks with friends, family, and coworkers.

But "reconnecting" can also mean getting to do things you used to do in new ways.

Since this virus isn't going anywhere, you'll be learning how to go about your life — eating in restaurants, shopping, and traveling differently.

The choice to make here is to move past physically isolating yourself and slowly reconnect with the things you used to like to do — even work.

You'll take precautions by wearing masks, gloves, and being physically respectful with six feet between you and others.


It will take time for restaurants and shops to figure out how to open safely. They need to make plans and learn which tables they can safely seat and how many people to let into their store at one time. How to keep their staff safe and how to keep their patrons safe.

It will also take time for people to feel comfortable venturing out.

You'll have to make your own individual choices as to how, when, and where you decide to reconnect. Some choices will be made for you as there will, sadly, be shops and restaurants that won't be reopening.


I think if my mother were here, she would say, "Get out there." She would take the necessary precautions and move on.

My mother was about living life. If you're merely coping, you're not truly living.

You'll make a choice, once medical professionals give you permission, to move forward in the way that's safest for you.

You'll decide for yourself if you're ready to venture out. To dip your toes in the water of what was once your life beyond your home. Some may jump into the deep end, others will enter more slowly.

To live, truly live, with COVID-19, you'll need to do more than cope. You can keep the three Rs in your mind as you engage more completely.


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Diana Quintana is a certified professional organizer and the owner of DNQ Solutions who teaches people how to become organized and maintain order in their lives. For more information on how she can help you, visit her website here.