Creating a New Post-Pandemic Normal

Living through the COVID pandemic challenged all of us in ways we never would have imagined. There was so much confusion and conflicting information over the “right” way to navigate through it. We had to learn new ways of being in the world and interacting with others. We developed new structures and habits that got us through the unprecedented times– e.g. creating small “pods” to limit our in-person exposure; moving gatherings to Zoom, outdoor dining, etc.

Now we are moving into “post-pandemic” lives, so it is a good time to consciously assess what our current needs are and ask ourselves if our existing structures and habits are helpful in letting us meet our current needs or whether we need something different.

Here’s a short exercise that might help. To get started, below is a list of words associated with universal needs. This list is a helpful starting place to begin thinking about your own needs. Which ones are currently being met? Which ones need more attention? If you are like me, this is probably not something you think about very consciously, but deliberate reflection offers a possibility of greater satisfaction or simply understanding why you currently feel as you do.   


     Connection, acceptance, affection, appreciation, belonging, cooperation,
    communication, closeness, community, companionship, compassion, consideration,
    consistency, empathy, inclusion, intimacy, love, mutuality, nurturing, respect/self-respect,
    safety, security, stability, support, to know and be known, to see and be seen, to
    understand and be understood, trust, warmth

     Physical Well-Being, air, food, movement/exercise, rest/sleep, sexual expression,
    safety, shelter, touch, water

     Honesty, authenticity, integrity, presence 

     Play, joy, humor

     Autonomy, choice, freedom, independence, space, spontaneity

     Meaning, awareness, celebration of life, challenge, clarity, competence, consciousness,
    contribution, creativity, discovery, efficacy, effectiveness, growth, hope, learning,
    mourning, participation, purpose, self-expression, stimulation, to matter, understanding


1. As you look through this list, circle needs that are currently being met. 

2. Put a star next to the three most important needs you have that are NOT currently
   being met. If other needs come to mind that are not listed here, feel free to add them to
   the list.

3. For needs that are not currently being met, what could you do to meet one or more of
   those needs? Brainstorm some ideas.

What we need changes over time—especially as circumstances change. As the acute phase of the pandemic lifts, it is important to identify our current needs and consciously create new structures and habits that support the new circumstances of our lives. If there were structures and habits developed during the pandemic that continue to serve you, keep them! When our needs are met, we feel more satisfied– the invitation here is to be intentional.

If you enjoyed this blog and found it useful, please subscribe and share! If you are looking for support to help you take action to better meet your needs, please contact me for a coaching consult to see if coaching is right for you.

© Anne E. Garing, PhD and Peg Hunt, MS

List of Universal Needs: (c) 2005 by Center for Nonviolent Communication, Website: Email: Phone: +1.505-244-4041

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