Embracing ‘The New Normal’ with Dr. Jen Ashton

ABC News’ chief medical correspondent speaks to “Nightline” about her own experiences dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and the importance of tending to our emotional and physical health.
6:32 | 02/16/21

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Transcript for Embracing ‘The New Normal’ with Dr. Jen Ashton
Do you think we will ever get back to the old normal or is the new normal the new normal forever? I would encourage you to not think of the words getting back to normal. Right? We all lost something. But we might be gaining other things and createtivity and it's a waste of time, and you miss the present when you do that. Throughout the pandemic, her advice has been calm and crystal clear. Cutting through the fear and uncertainty. When you are trying to contain or respond to an infectious disease outbreak, you are always behind so we need to take the aggressive steps now. This is the routine surgical mask. This will keep viral particles your bubble is there for a reason, it is to protect your people and the people outside. Reporter: A respected journalist and mother. She shared wave after wave of facts and figures on covid-19. Despite her expertise, she too was overwhelmed at times. You mentioned a moment where you hit a wall and you recognized, I have covid fatigue. It all started the night it was announced that president trump and the first lady had covid. And within seconds, I was put on the air first by phone, and then got on the air with Byron Pitts on television to talk about president trump's covid. And that was about two, 3:00 in the morning. President trump had an array of people and protocols to prevent him from getting covid and yet, he still contracted the virus. Diseases do not discriminate based on your job title or address or how much money you make or anything else. I had to take a step back and realize we were talking about the biggest medical story in the world. The most powerful political leader in the world and walking that fine line between respecting the patient's privacy but informing the American public when the patient is our president. And at that point, I though I am really over this. It's a sentimen. That we can relate to, and when the day feels paralyzing, she has a prescription. Embraces the new normal. It's taught us that it's not going away. That shift she named her book the new normal. She hopes to empower readers to take their physical and psychological health in their own hands. You took up a mantra, facts over fear. How did you incorporate that to get over anxiety? I said, I am scared of covid, what if I die and leave my kids without a parent and then I went back to the statistics that, you know, roughly 80% of cases don't require hospitalization and then, by age, at 50, I have less than a 1% chance of dying at the end of the day. We can't worry about the what IFS or the unknowns or anything like that, that is a slippery slope. Anxiety and fatigue, and an uptick in mental health crisis, dubbed the second pandemic. Often those hardest hit the working mothers. Even in the time right now with the covid-19, I can't afford not to work. Biggest issue are dishes, to serve lunch, dinner, keeping them clean I want usually get about an hour or so of uninterrupted work time. So -- there is also the fun fact that my son is in band. Working mothers have suffered the worst sort of moral injury and stress and anxiety and burden throughout the pandemic. I'm getting emotional just thinking about it, juju, because we have all lost something in this pandemic. I think that if you don't acknowledge that loss, and how tough it's been on our spirit, then, we can't move forward to heal. And of course, you know, women can be disproportionately affected by that. As a nutritionist, she said having to grapple with the tough moments have has forced many of us in to unhealthy habits. You admitted that you fell off the exercise regimen, which was easy for all of us to do in the pandemic. For me, exercise before the pandemic was my major form of stress relief, so I literally did what I advised patients on not do. I let everything get disrupted. I stopped my meditation and exercise and I was not paying attention to what I was eating and by the time June 2020 rolled around, I was not feeling good. I spoke to myself as if I was my own patient. Figure out a way you can do it and it took a couple of months. But it did get me back to where I was before. But it was hard. Despite all the losses and upheaval, the pandemic can teach us all, however difficult to choose gratitude. We have learned new ways to stay connected to people that we care about. My new hobby was raising backyard chickens. You have become a suburban farmer. I totally have. Two years ago if you had said that to me, I would say, no, no, that is not for me. And so, I think there's silver linings in the there, you have to look for them. A lot of people are feeling hopeless and negative out there, what would you say, what's the one over arching message for them? I think our resilience for sure is being tested and I think we are stronger than we sometimes give ourselves credit for and I believe we will get through it stronger than we were before the pandemic. The doctor's new book is available in stores now.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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