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  • Lesley Oleksyn

What is 'normal' anyway?

Updated: Oct 19, 2022

So there has been a lot of talk in the media and among friends about 'getting back to normal'. But what is 'normal' and is it time to create a new definition of 'normal', to protect our mental and physical health, our family life, our communities and our planet?

For so many people (myself included), 'normal' often means very busy. In fact, many people pride themselves and possibly even judge themselves and others on how 'busy' they are. But what if the time is now to slow down just a little? What if we start to notice how we feel when we try to slow down? Does it stress you out if you aren't accomplishing things and ticking things off of your TO DO list? Are you able to take some time to read a book, listen to music or even simply 'do nothing' without getting judgmental and feeling guilty? If you find you have some time, why not give it a try and see what happens. If you feel guilty, ask yourself why, then tell yourself it's okay and try to enjoy. If you need a TO DO list to get through the day, put something on your list that you consider relaxing or enjoyable, and DO IT. If you need any self-care ideas, have a look at this link: These are just ideas, so why not create your own list that works for you.

It's also normal to feel sad, or mad, or fearful, or anything else at this and any time. I sometimes think how lucky I am, but that shouldn't mean I can't feel upset about how these times are affecting me and my family and friends. It's not a competition about who has been more badly affected, and who decides that anyway? I listened to a podcast the other day, and it really hit home. It's by Brené Brown, a shame and vulnerability researcher. She really hits the nail on the head. She talks about strategies for falling apart, staying connected + kind, and giving ourselves permission to feel hard things. It's only 25 minutes, so have a listen sometime: Comparative Suffering, the 50/50 Myth, and Settling the Ball - Brené Brown (

I would also like to share a link to a Tse Qigong form that has been created to help during the COVID-19 pandemic. I started to learn Qigong in September 2019 and have really been enjoying it. I definitely sleep better if I practice for 20 minutes in the evening. Normally, Qigong can only be taught by a certified instructor, however, the Tse Qigong Centre have given permission to share this widely. It is called the Lung Strengthening Gong. If you would like to try a little movement meditation, this is a 12 minute video to learn the moves. You can then practice daily and start a new normal for healthy living.

Finally, to those in the front line - NHS and care workers, Police and Fire, and other essential services - I thank you for putting in extra time and going to work so the rest of us can stay well. Your 'new normal' is helping all of us more than you know.

Keep well.

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