How to cope with the new norm

As shops, restaurants and other public places have started to open and we are beginning to return to a new normal, we know for many of you this will be very daunting, especially for those of you who have been shielding for a while. Masks and gloves are now commonplace, queuing is the norm, and the way we socially interact has changed. 

All these aspects of going out can make it a bit intimidating to leave our homes but there are measures in place to keep you safe and there is lots of support to help settle your anxieties. If you are worried about venturing out into public places again, we’ve put together some tips to help you cope and to put your worries at ease.

1. Feeling worried is normal

It is normal to feel worried, anxious, upset and angry during this time, as we are all trying to get used to a new way of life, and for many of us getting used to just leaving our homes. These feelings are normal. The coronavirus pandemic has affected us all in a lot of ways and it’s important to let yourself come to terms with the difficulties that you have had or will have to face. By acknowledging these challenges, you will be able to start embracing the new normal and be proud of yourself for being so resilient during difficult times. 

2. Ease yourself into the new norm

Before COVID-19 you may have been a social butterfly, getting involved in lots of social activities to occupy yourself throughout the day. Although you may not be able to take part in all of these at the moment, be creative and try to find alternatives to keep you busy and help you to slowly start getting out more.

If you are worried about going out, try leaving the house a few times a week and going to fewer public places, until you feel comfortable. For example, if you are a gym-fanatic but worried about returning to your gym, try meeting a friend in the park and do a workout together, or if you love to brunch but you aren’t ready to return to restaurants, get some croissants from the supermarket and take your brunch al fresco! 

Be flexible, be creative and allow yourself time to get used to the changes.

3. Be prepared and keep calm

If you are worried about going into restaurants and other social spaces, try to ease yourself into it. Be prepared when you venture out and bring a face covering and hand sanitiser with you at all times. This way you can protect yourself and it will help you to keep calm if you are in control. And remember, businesses will all have safety measures of their own to keep you safe at all times.

If you are worried about wearing a face covering or you have any problems while wearing one, you can find all the support you need here.

4. Keep connected 

By now we are all probably well accustomed to using other forms of communication to speak to our loved ones. Although we may not be able to see or be in close contact with our loved ones, try to embrace these new ways of keeping connected. It is important we keep in touch with others and talk about how we are feeling, so make sure you keep in touch. If you are speaking to loved ones via video chat or message, try not to think of how it could be but focus on the present and enjoy the time you are spending with them. 

If you are able, try to meet up with family and friends for a socially distanced chat. It can be unnerving at first, but it really can help to lift your mood, help you to start getting out more and make things feel a bit more ‘normal’.

5. Keep up to date but don’t be alarmed

Keeping an eye on the news can be very helpful as the situation progresses and guidance is changing so quickly. By keeping up to date you know what you can and cannot do and this will help you to stay safe when you are out and about.  

However, sometimes new developments can seem scary and often overwhelming, so it is important to keep calm. One way you can keep up to date without feeling alarmed is by changing where you get your information. Watching the news on the TV or scrolling through news items on social media can often lead to increased anxiety. To prevent this, make sure you get your information from reputable sources, such as the NHS, WHO or the government.

Support and Self-help resources

It is important that you reach out for help if you need support. There are lots of organisations who can support you with different aspects of the coronavirus pandemic, whether that be anxiety, depression, stress or bereavement. It can really help to talk to someone about how you are feeling. There are some support contacts listed below to help you manage difficult feelings or experiences. 


Mind has lots of resources and useful tips to help you cope during this time. They are also on hand to offer support for lots of different mental health problems. Click here to find out more.

It can really help to hear from others who might be feeling the same way as you do, which is why Mind also runs an online peer support community, where you can share your experiences and hear from others. You can join the group here.


Grief can be overwhelming, especially during such difficult circumstances. Cruse are there to support you if you have lost a loved one during the coronavirus pandemic. If you are struggling, reach out to them by clicking here.


SilverCloud is an online self-help platform, which you can use by yourself. It's designed to help you learn skills to manage common problems, like stress and anxiety. The modules are based on cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) principles. You can find resources for sleep, stress, anxiety and more. Click here to find support.


The NHS have a lot of helpful resources, guidance and support for those struggling during the coronavirus pandemic. They can help with what to do if you feel unsafe, getting food, mental health and more. You can find out more about the support they offer here.


Rethink offers lots of information for many problems surrounding coronavirus. From difficulty wearing face coverings, to how to manage anxiety, you can find lots of advice on their website.

Support at Herts:

During this time, it is important that you reach out if you are struggling. If you are feeling worried or anxious, we are here to help. You are not alone and there is lots of support available to you, there is no problem too small. 

If you have any concerns at all, contact our team at: or visit our Student Wellbeing pages for details of how to access advice and support. 

Our Wellbeing services are also available 24/7 by contacting Security on +44 (0)1707 281010. 

Our Facebook support group is also available. The group is open to any students or staff who may be feeling lonely or want to connect with people at Herts. The group will also provide support from our Wellbeing team, as well as ideas for activities, online games, and watch parties to stay connected.


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