Apr 02

Adapting to our new normal

By Nicole D’Amico

As a self-confessed extroverted introvert, it’s been a really confusing time for me. I don’t usually like change; I love being around people (when I want / am ready to be); I love my routine; I love my work; and I love planning my weekend with all the freedom in the world…even if I end up going to the same café, park or bar.


So here are some ways I’ve adapted my usual routine life to our new normal:

Work: We’re lucky enough to work in an agency that walks the talk. The past 2.5 weeks have proven that we are flexible, agile, innovative and other adjectives that you might be lucky enough to spot in our business proposals. We’ve been able to work from home every day and have maintained the little quirks that make our workplace so special, from daily banter on our internal Teams chat to Friday drinks (BYO drinks and snacks) and our 3 O’clock Squats (no explanation needed) over Zoom.

Keeping a routine: as much as possible for work has been so important for me. If hours have been reduced, try spreading them out throughout the week so that you’re as connected to the team as possible and to keep your mind too busy to think about snacks.

Relationships: Well. I’m lucky to be living with my fiancé so as long as he has his PlayStation in one room and I have F.R.I.E.N.D.S going in another, we’ll be fine. Our fun weekend activities still revolve around food but instead of hitting South Melbourne Market for Arancini, cheese tastings and oysters, we have been trying new recipes (this past weekend was traditional carbonara; and slow cooked tacos with unbelievably strong margaritas). It’s been hard not seeing my girlfriends, especially given it’s a time where we could use the support more than ever, but that’s why we have iPhones and pretend that it’s no big deal that “they” listen to us or that the phones start to die when a new model is released. It’s fine. It’s honestly fine. A small price to pay to stay connected. Check in on friends often and use FaceTime or House Party to see their pretty faces. Add wine for authenticity.  As an Italian-American and soon to be Greek, less contact with family has been really hard. Like, we need to cook more of our own dinners given the pause on family nights which is pretty annoying because that means more cleaning (but less carbs) and I really miss my family dog… does he know none of this was my idea?! Anyway. As with my girlfriends, technology is the answer here. More FaceTimes, more phone calls, more Hamish (dog) updates via text and make more plans for when this is all over. We’ll reschedule Easter (both of them) and I’m sure one of us will figure out a way to teleport tomatoes and lemons “from the garden” soon. Oh, and bonus points if you make lasagna to be delivered for your grandparents-in-law because favouritism isn’t postponed.

Health: For me, this is the hardest one. I don’t know if you heard but I’m engaged and trying to bride diet is hard when no one is around to judge your breakfast dessert. I’ve never been able to self-motivate when it comes to working out so I’m being tested. So far though, I’ve been making a conscious effort to do something every day. Mornings are best for me – I like to get it over with and set the tone for the day and all that. I’ve been using Chris Hemsworth’s Centr app for pilates and yoga and I’m learning to run with Couch to 5k (but let’s see how long that lasts). Otherwise, I’m just trying to get steps up. Fun game – challenge a friend on Fitbit and when they let their guard down thinking they can go to bed safely in the lead and about to win, run on the spot for a couple minutes right before midnight. Remember, winning by 5 steps is still winning. Don’t stop at the physical.  The first week or so of self-distancing, I was obsessed with consuming all the news on every platform and I didn’t realise it was affecting my sleep and making me really anxious. I’ve been really careful with what news I watch / read and I make sure to switch off from that a few hours before bed. If it’s all swimming around in my head, I’ll read a book, write a bit or annoy my partner for something different.

Play and Rest: Anyone else quickly realise their hobby turned out to be just going out for food with friends? I’ve tweaked this slightly to staying in and baking alone. I started off healthy-ish with acai buckwheat muffins, gluten free banana bread, but I see this escalating to frosted cinnamon scrolls real quick. My New Year goal is always to read more and it’s truly one of the things I’m most excited for with some down-time. Next on my list of basic 20-something y/o female books are: My Dark Vanessa; Little Fires Everywhere; Silver Sparrow, Eggshell Skull and What Alice Forgot. Let’s see if I can get away from the wild world Tiger King; Grey’s Anatomy or One Tree Hill long enough to get through just one, though. I also have grand plans to learn the piano or pick back up my Italian lessons but one thing at a time, Nicole.

Sometimes the best thing to clear the head and relax is a clean, bright space. My environment affects me so much, so if I’m feeling cluttered, it’s usually because my space is. It’s therapeutic to tidy up, open the windows for fresh air and natural light, light a candle and have some fresh flowers or plants around. Instantly calming.

So, our lives might look a little different right now but before we know it, we’ll be back to the hustle and bustle of work, social lives, pasta on shelves and we’ll slip happily back into our old routine. We cannot change what we cannot control so let’s try to make our own situations as familiar as possible and enjoy a bit of the stillness. 


One last thing – if you’re bored, do a puzzle or literally anything other than Monopoly. It’s not a good time. It’s never a good time and it brings out the worst in the ones you thought loved you.

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