Establishing normalcy in a constantly changing climate


Establishing normalcy in a constantly changing climate

by Jennifer Brown
Stripes Japan

Editor’s note: At Stripes Okinawa, we love to share your stories and share this space with our community members. Here is an article written by Jennifer Brown, a hospital corpsman at U.S. Naval Hospital Okinawa. If you have a story or photos to share, let us know at

Normalcy is something we all try to aspire for. In one way or another, we all want a “normal” life. We all have aspirations and goals for our life, our current circumstances, our career, etc. Many people ask themselves: “how can I attain my goals?” Perhaps a better question, however, is how can we establish our “normal” in this constantly changing world and is establishing it even possible?

This year and throughout the pandemic, our perception of what is normal has changed. If you were to ask one another if you would have predicted we would all normalize such high cleanliness standards and social distancing in 2020, would you have believed it? While life certainly throws us curveballs, suffering from a worldwide pandemic was not anything we would have considered “normal.” Sadly though, here we are months into this pandemic, and we are now becoming used to following the new rules to ensure our survival.

Despite the struggles we continue to face, there is hope for us moving forward. Establishing a new sense of normalcy is possible and something we can each work on. Most importantly, we should remember that our “normal” continues to change as often as we do. When we do something over and over again, we create habits; but do not forget, habits can be changed and altered. We now have had to adapt to a new work environment, perhaps homeschooling the kids, and taking proper precautions if, and when, we decide to go out in public.

While these changes have undoubtedly been stressful, we do have more control over this than we think. Whether we develop new habits of only going to the grocery store every Tuesday or work virtually from home, we do have the power to control some things. Moreover, even though these changes will take time to fully set in, this is also the time to experiment in different coping mechanisms to see which work best for you.

Another way to establish normalcy in your life is by keeping in contact with your friends and family. While this seems like a no-brainer, having a reliable support system may help you in more ways than one. The holidays are approaching, and as stressful as those can be pre-COVID-19, this year is going to be different. Talking to our loved ones near and far can help with those feelings of discomfort and uncertainty, and perhaps even help us grieve for the things we lost this year or the plans we might have to abandon for the winter season.

It may also be helpful to develop new ways to do certain things that you did before coronavirus.  Instead of going to church in person, attend an online livestream. Instead of attending school physically, pull up online school and create a schedule similar to that of a school day. There are so many options now that we’re all adjusting to the changes that do not allow for a physical presence.

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