One of the most important things you can do is accept that a new reality should come with a different level of expectations. For example, you’re not going to perfectly juggle remote work with home schooling and child care. “Lower your standards so much that if you fall down, it’s a step up,” says Dr. Leahy. “It’s like if you used to be able to run a 7-minute mile, and now someone tells you to strap a 50-pound bag over your shoulders and do the same thing, it’s going to take you an hour and a half.”
If your children are making noise or interrupting, or you are having trouble staying on top of everything and focusing, normalize that. “You can say to yourself, ‘That is what I would expect right now when I am trying to multitask everything without outside help and during a pandemic,’” says Dr. Leahy. “Anticipate the noise and the interruptions and remind yourself they are not such terrible things, but simply inconveniences.”
For those frustrated by the new limitations on everyday life during quarantine and the ‘new normal’, Dr. Leahy also suggests resetting expectations and identifying what you can do rather than focusing on what you can’t. “A lot of frustration comes from inflexible expectations. We may have an expectation that we should be able to do everything we did before, and as long as we hold on to that expectation, we are going to be frustrated,” says Dr. Leahy.
Consider other things in your life that you expected or hoped for but didn’t pan out, and you survived. “Change the expectation to match reality, realizing it’s not catastrophic,” says Dr. Leahy. “Early Americans from hundreds of years ago wouldn’t even understand the concepts behind some of the luxuries we might miss right now. We are fortunate to even have the things we miss, and maybe we’ll appreciate them even more when they return.”