You will adjust to the new normal

Along with Jody Lanard, Sandman wrote a primer on preparing large populations for pandemics, which I’ve found to be a useful resource over the past couple of weeks. It is a sobering read. Tough times are ahead, and almost everyone is going to have their life disrupted for a while. Their primer also offers real solace to the newly aware and anxious observer.

“This OMG realization that we have termed the ‘adjustment reaction’ is a step that is hard to skip on the way to the new normal,” they explain. But most do adapt: “The adjustment reaction is a temporary phenomenon that eases the transition to whatever is next. Very few people get stuck in a long-term over-reaction.”

One practice I’ve tried to adopt, with mixed success, is to be smart about following COVID-19 news, checking often enough to stay abreast of important public-health information without indulging the temptation to obsess about it. Keep up with what’s happening day to day, but don’t imagine that refreshing your browser or social-media app many times an hour is useful.