Changing our focus in the new normal

As I continue to manage my personal experiences during this current pandemic situation, I realize I have been marking time by what toiletry I needed to replace.  This week feels like number 457 as toothpaste and body wash mark off another one.  I felt like I had hit a wall when I was lying in bed at 7:00am and the loud sounds of birds chattering outside my window began to irritate me.  My first thought was “don’t you know I am trying to sleep in?…I can…and I need it”.  And it didn’t stop there. With work demands looming and people counting on me to come through, I just wanted it all to go away. I determined it was was going to be difficult to write about “changing our focus in the new normal”.


I decided to stop for a moment, take a breath and listen to some of my own advice.  While it is difficult not to focus on what is going wrong or is inconvenient these days; I realized I hadn’t been focusing on what was going right.  By slowing down, I was able to notice I was still able to work, when so many are not.  My home life is stable and I can talk to my grown children more now because they are at home and available.  I forgot about being grateful.

Gratitude is something that we often take for granted.  We expect these constants in our life to be…..well …..constant, and don’t notice the importance they have or how much of a loss it would be if they were not there.  People often say it’s ”the little things that matter most” and I think they are on to something.  Look at it like it’s a numbers game.  For every 1 irritating thing we are aware of, if we can notice 2 things we are grateful for, perhaps that will help balance out our feelings and leave us in a healthy space.

I challenge you to complete the list below of things you are grateful for.  You can start with the short list where you can quickly identify the “big ticket” items like family, friends, etc.  Don’t spend too much time here as these will be the more obvious ones.  Then move on to the long list, identifying each with a letter of the alphabet.  Keep this list handy for when you need to remind yourself of all that remains constant for you despite all the things you cannot control.

In my list I now have something for W as the bird that was singing their heart out at 7:00 am was a Wren.  They didn’t care about a pandemic, they were excited to be alive and tell all their friends about the 6 bird feeders they had found outside my house.  Sing on little bird……

Stephanie Phillips, LCMHC

Stephanie Phillips, LCMHCS, NCC, CCTP
Psychotherapist & Owner
The Mindly Group, PLLC