Extra Reading: Getting Used to the New Normal

We’ve added some new phrases to our vocabulary: social distancing, challenging times (yes, for many), unprecedented times (not really – there have been previous pandemics), and the new normal.

The provinces are working on slowly re- launching their locked-down economies and getting employees back to work.  Phase one includes the re-opening of some brick-and-mortar retail stores, restaurants, and service industries like hair salons (we no longer have to look like we stepped out of an eighties music video), under certain conditions such as keeping our distance or wearing a face mask.

customers lining up outside grocery store with social distancing
People lining up outside grocery store with social distancing during coronavirus pandemic

What do you miss while in quarantine?  What can’t you wait to get back to?  What will change when we’re allowed out and about again?

We’ll be back to spending at restaurants, pubs, attractions and other entertainment.  Travel will take awhile, but it will come back.  What do you think?

One result may be learning what we really can do without.

One thing I miss is being able to go to the library.  It’s funny that liquor stores are deemed essential, but libraries are not. For me, there’s nothing better than curling up with a good book.

Here’s an interesting fact.  According to a UK-based report Penguin Classics has seen a 1,393 per cent surge in plague-themed literature.  Maybe it’s time to re-read Stephen King’s The Stand.

Take a look at these recent articles that offer to help us manage our “new normal.”

Your wealth

How has the pandemic affected your finances?  Markets have staged a bit of a comeback after declining more than 11% in March. 

Investors got their first look at the impact of the coronavirus on Canada’s big banks this week when they reported their earnings.  Not shown on this chart: TD profit fell 52% and the CIBC profit dropped 70%.

While the consumer price index for April showed a decline of -0.2%, food inflation rose 3.4%, with prices increasing almost four times faster than the price of other goods.

While the consumer price index for April showed a decline of -0.2%, food inflation rose 3.4%, with prices increasing almost four times faster than the price of other goods.

Seniors are getting some help.  The federal government is giving a one-time, tax-free top up to offset extra costs tied to the pandemic – expenses such as grocery delivery, taking cabs instead of the bus, and extra prescription dispensing costs.

Canadians may be staying home but they are still finding ways to spend money but the pandemic has changed our shopping habits.

And while bills continue to come in, many providers are offering some flexibility or discounts depending on a customer’s needs. Here are some discounts available to you.

We’ve long been scolded about how much food we consumers waste, but lately the food producers are doing large-scale unloading.  Milk has been dumped.  Chickens and hogs will likely be slaughtered.  Cows being kept longer in feedlots because of processing plant shutdowns will no doubt come to same end.  Is this necessary?  Almost 70% of boomers are against this practise. 

The end result?  Be ready for a huge increase in our grocery prices for quite some time. The consumer price index for April showed food inflation rose 3.4%, with prices increasing almost four times faster than the price of other goods.

Embrace these tips for eating healthy on a budget.

Your health

My mother lives in a retirement home and the facility employees have been working hard to ensure their safety and provide some entertainment.  Thankfully, not one resident there has become ill.  But the pandemic has harshly shown how terribly we have been treating our elders in care homes.  This is a cause that all boomers should embrace.  Time goes by quickly and before we know it, we may be those same circumstances.

Your happiness

Canadians’ holiday plans have also changed dramatically. More are cancelling trips altogether, while others are holding off making travel plans. It’s highly unlikely people will be leaving the country or travelling by air.  So we’re staying home.  We’ll see the return of the great Canadian road trip and travelling by car or RV.

Starting June 1, you will be able to enjoy some trails, day use areas and recreational boating at certain National Parks.  Camping facilities, however, remain closed for the time being.  Or you can explore more than one hundred of Canada’s natural and historical treasures virtually from the comfort of your own home with Google Street View.

While you’re deciding what to add to your travel bucket list, check out these virtual tours of some famous sites and museums.

If you’re reluctant to venture out, here are 10 tips to help you cope with staying at home.  And here’s a list of free things you can do online.

The bottom line

Getting back to pre-pandemic levels of activity could take a long time.  How will it shape our future?

When the outlook seems vague and uncertain, it’s best to focus on one day at a time. 

We’re all in the same boat right now, but it won’t last forever.  What can you do that’s within your control to make this day okay? 

Tomorrow is tomorrow.  Future cares have future cures, and we must mind today.” Sophocles

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2 Responses

  1. fbgcai says:

    Marie, you should check out ebooks and ereaders – no need for a physical library – yes it’s different than a physical book but I was hooked when I could put multiple books (100s or more) on a device than weighs very little (less than a paperback) – and you should be able to get ebooks from your library.

    • Marie Engen says:

      Yes, I know. My husband reads ebooks – mostly because he can increase the font size for his failing eyes – but the selection is quite limited in our library. He keeps telling me I should get an ereader, but so far I’ve been resistant. Don’t ask me why.

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