• Kat Hounsell

Covid-19 Series: Wellbeing for the 'new normal'

New normal: A state to which an economy, society, etc. settles following a crisis, when this differs from the situation that prevailed prior to the start of the crisis - Wikipedia

This term boggles me, because what did we use to define as ‘normal’? and was that old ‘normal’ necessarily a positive one?

In the first article in this series we looked at the human response to change, and how we experience a process similar to grieving when we face a shift in our lives. I believe the phrase ‘new normal’ exists to help us move through this transition, from initial shock through challenging emotions, to hope and eventually meaningful action.

How we choose to see and frame the world we live in ‘post Covid’ will have a huge impact on our wellbeing as individuals, teams and a wider society. We can choose to stay stuck in a place of mourning, or we can transition calmly through to acceptance and curiosity of how we can use this unexpected period of time to our advantage.

The World Economic Forum supports this debate and also encourages us to not “normalize our situation and quickly move forward, but give ourselves the time to truly process it.”

For any leaders reading this article, you may want to start thinking about how to support your teams to do this processing. I highly recommend this report from the Centre for Mental Health and exploring how to implement the suggestions outlined in the table on pages 9-10.

It’s important for us to acknowledge the challenges facing the drinks and hospitality industry - social distancing and tighter hygiene requirements will continue to impact consumer behaviour and confidence, and this could mean revenue shortfalls. And then the Brexit transition period is coming to an end as we enter 2021, which will have its own impact on supply chains and potential shortage of talent from outside the UK.

Facing challenges isn’t about ‘doom and gloom’, it’s about facing into our truth so that we may feel empowered to take effective action. And many businesses across the sector are already doing this; in recent months we’ve seen:

  • Embracing of flexible working with productivity levels remaining high

  • Priority focus on the health & wellbeing of team members

  • Appreciation of individuals and more ‘human-centred’ workplace cultures

  • Innovation and creativity – adapting services and products at pace, in particular serving the off-trade and direct to consumer markets

We live as part of an ever-changing world full of uncertainty. We can choose to resist this, which will inevitably lead to discomfort and disappointment, or we can choose to embrace it and practice being present, open and ready to perform in the opportunities ahead.

To enable us to embrace the ‘new normal’, we must be grounded and energised, and that comes from taking care of our holistic wellbeing. So, as a takeaway, I encourage you to look back through the articles in this series, take the time to consider your current levels of wellbeing and start actioning the practices that will help you thrive.

Finding life difficult? You’re #NotAlone.

Read here for where to access professional support.

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