When life as you know it gets flipped upside down at some point you have to figure out your new normal. It won’t be quick and it’s unlikely to be easy and there’s a whole heap of stuff to work through.
This has been the last two weeks for The Darling Family.
Jon’s parents used to have the kids frequently, my parents are in the country every other month and then we used to work opposites as much as possible to allow to have childcare all the time. Prior to me starting this job we both constantly worked 12-hour shifts, but now I have a day in the office a week. We used to have to be at home for the kids to go to nursery because they don’t cover the hours we need, but now the kids can go on my office days which is one less day to worry about, but there’s been a lot to consider to find how our new normal will look now.
Things to Consider to Find your New Normal
Before you can figure out your new normal you need to work through everything emotionally. You absolutely need to acknowledge how you’re feeling and talk it through. This might be professional intervention, or friends and family.
One thing Jon and I have always had on our side is we can talk to each other, and importantly we call each other out on when we think the other person is talking crap. Don’t get me wrong it’s not all conversations that rival Shakespeare’s prose, but when things are bad we make sure we communicate with each other.
I would absolutely encourage anyone to seek professional help if required.
There are various routes to do this in England – access will be different in other regions.
- GP – who can refer you to counselling, mental health team and potentially prescribe medication. The downside is sometimes it can take quite a while to get an appointment with the counselling team.
- 111 option 2 – this is not a service in every area so check out if it’s available, but if it is by dialling 111 and selecting option 2 will put you through to a mental health First Response Service.
- Occupational Health – depending on where you work your occupational health service may have access to counselling services which may be free.
- Private counselling – if you are in a position to be able to afford it this is a route which will probably be quicker than accessing through your GP.
- Online Services – please make sure you’re using a legitimate service, you could be putting yourself in further danger. For a list of legitimate service please see this NHS page.
- Samaritans – they’re available 24/7 on number 116 123 or their website.
- Accident and Emergency Department – if you are in crisis please go to your accident and emergency department and seek help.
I’m sure there are more, and please let me know in the comments below I’d love to be able to signpost people to the appropriate resources.
You may need to consider if your current work situation will continue to work with your home life. This is a huge thing to have to evaluate, and these aren’t just consideration for your, but your partner too (if you have one).
- Taking leave – depending on the circumstances you can take compassionate leave, or sick leave. You can get 7 days off without a sick note by completing a self-certificate, after that you will need a GP note. Have a look at your contract, or contact your work HR regarding how long you can be off with full sick pay, you need to be mindful of adding financial struggles on top of everything your figuring out. If you take a significant period of time off you may want to consider a phased return to help reduce the overwhelm of being back full time straight away.
- Flexible working – flexible working can work is a variety of different ways; fixed days of working, fixed days off, altered start and finish times, a set pattern of shifts on a rolling rota – this is not an exhaustive list. The things to remember with flexible working is your employer doesn’t have to accept your offer, but you can try to negioate it.
- Hours change – you can request a reduction in your contracted hours, again your employer doesn’t have to accept your request
- Leaving your job – if there’s no way you can continue with your previous working arrangements and your employer cannot accommodate a change of circumstance then you will have to consider leaving your job. This will undoubtedly feel huge and scary but could open the door for a new position, company or even a new career, or education.
I type this with a sense of dread, but this is a huge factor and a huge cost consideration. I don’t have any list here, but if you have kids you need to factor in how your childcare arrangements are going to change and the cost of that, the very real huge cost.
This isn’t an exhaustive list of things to consider when trying to find your new normal, and of course, the outcomes depend on your home and work life circumstances, but I hope it takes some of the burdens off you and trying to think of everything.