This global pandemic has unveiled how fleeting and precious life is. Perhaps now it’s easier to see that we aren’t invincible — that life is a gift.

But when our urge to grip on to our old way of life is so acute, it’s easy to forget that the good old days had imperfections and challenges too. Stress levels were high, and the constant chase for more was our common ground.

Now, here we wait, hoping our lives will return to the normal we remember. It can be tempting, in this waiting game, to wish our “now” moments away. But when we resist the present, we create habits of thinking that carry into the future. And that race for happiness that characterized our lives before? It will follow us into post-pandemic living.

Perhaps pandemic living is the ideal time to stop the endless chase and instead grow our appreciation for all that is right and good in our lives.

Rather than wishing our moments away or feeling overwhelmed by how far we have to go, we might find some relief by leaning in to our new normal — our “now” normal. It might be the secret to living each day as a gift.

Finding gratitude in our lives right now will pave the path to appreciating the moments soon to come. In times like these, we all could use a reminder that we can start from where we are now. There is always something to be grateful for.

Here are a few ways to shift your focus from resistance to acceptance, and to lean in to your new normal with ease.

Allow Space for Big Emotions

This unprecedented era has a way of evoking big emotions. And it’s important to allow space for all of them, even the hard-to-feel ones like grief. We are all grieving the loss of life as we knew it. For some people who have lost loved ones, the grief is all too real. It’s essential we offer ourselves and the people around us compassion and space — and not just the physical space that’s imposed by pandemic rules for safeguarding.

Give space for people to show up as they are, without judging them or their lives behind closed doors. Drastic, sudden change is unsettling. It can feel like an emotional rollercoaster. Instead of stuffing our feelings down, or judging and shaming one another, simply allow yourself and others to be as they are now.

Know that it’s okay to feel all of the feelings: the good, the bad, and the ugly-crying. We are not our feelings; we are so much more. But who you are, even while you reshape your new normal, is perfection. That will always be the case.

Gratitude on Your Terms

If there is any silver lining to come from this extended pause, let it be a greater appreciation for the lives we get to be in.

Lasting gratitude comes when we define it for ourselves. Find joy by viewing everyday moments through your own hot-pink-tinted glasses. Lean in to those spaces and allow your appreciation to wash over you.

Step forward from a sense of gratitude and notice what feels different in your mood and day when you do.

Lead from Your Truth

We are adaptable beings. We have the innate capacity to grow and flow with life’s ups and downs. But who we are at our center is unwavering. When the moments before us feel unsettling, we can give ourselves a bit of quiet to remember our core values and truth.

Instead of clinging to what was and resisting what is, know that you can tether to your truth and take small steps forward from there. I like to imagine myself as a wise old oak tree, firmly rooted in who I am. You see, an oak tree gets exposed to all of the elements throughout its lifetime. But even during a lightning storm, it doesn’t attempt to hide or be something it isn’t. Instead the tree sways with the winds and storms, knowing its roots go much deeper than what’s happening on the surface.

There isn’t a right or wrong way to lead from your truth. Let go of what you can’t control, and take comfort in connecting to your inner wisdom.

Times like these will come to pass, and before long we will find ourselves in new times. What do you want to carry with you into your “now” normal?

Article originally published on


  • Emily Madill is an author and certified professional coach, ACC with a BA in business and psychology. Emily is one of Thrive Global's Editors-at-large and a coach at BetterUp. She has published 11 titles in the area of self-development and empowerment, both for children and adults. You can find her writing in Chicken Soup for the Soul:Think Positive for Kids; Thrive Global; The Huffington Post; TUT. com; Best Self Magazine; MindBodyGreen; The Muse;; TinyBuddha; Aspire Magazine and others. Emily has a private coaching practice and an online program offering courses that support others to create lasting habits around self-love, well-being and all things related to time and weekly planning. She lives on Vancouver Island, Canada, with her husband, two sons and their sweet rescue dog Annie. Learn more at: