Therapist offers advice for adjusting to 'new norm'

'It's scary to return to the humdrum and rat race'
Posted at 11:30 AM, May 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-07 11:46:37-04

JUPITER, Fla. — Lauren Berger is taking baby steps.

"I am fully vaccinated, so now I am opening those doors again," she said.

She started eating outside at restaurants, but is still exercising at home.

"I still haven't gone back to the gym," Berger said.

She admits part of life are easier now, like working from home sometimes.

"I am little by little going to try to get back to what was the norm," Berger said.

She went on to explain there is something to be said about a new norm and lessons learned.

Jenn Tomko is a clinical psychotherapist with Clarity Health Solutions.

"It is scary to return to the humdrum and rat race," she said. "I hear so many fears about the new norm. … Whenever you are going through an adjustment period, you are going to have some anxiety around it."

Tomko said everyone has had to adjust to the pandemic. Now it's about finding a way to adjust out of it.

"That's kind of the fun part, if we think about it," she said. "Yes, it's anxiety provoking to find out, like, what is our new norm, but we have been doing that for a year. We have good practice. So we all get to choose, because it is brand new."

Tomko said she hears the most anxiety about returning to social and work situations.

Jenn Tomoko, with Clarity Health Solutions, talks about readjusting to life post-pandemic
"This has really forced us all to slow down, and one thing it taught me is how to balance my home life and work life," therapist Jenn Tomoko says.

"This has opened our eyes to two different extremes and we do have an opportunity," she said. "This has really forced us all to slow down, and one thing it taught me is how to balance my home life and work life. I was all work and now I've been forced to do both."

Tomko suggested taking the opportunity to look at a person's career.

"Maybe it is an opportunity to reflect, if the position you are in is really what you want, how much effort to put into it and how much to sacrifice," she said.

When it comes to adjusting, Tomko said, prioritize, set boundaries and recruit help from loved ones.

"You might have to structure in more specific self-care times or family time, but now we know how important it is that maybe we missed out on that in the past," she said.

Overall, it's about having a better understanding of what's important and what's not.

"The little things in life that matter so much -- the hugs," Berger said. "Who would've thought you would miss that so much and being with family?"