Gearing up for a ‘new normal’

We have entered a 3rd ‘lockdown’ in India (May 3rd- 17th 2020) with some relaxations in different pockets of the Nation. What we might enter into the Post-COVID days would most likely not be the same prior to March 2020. Hence, it is essential to prepare for the ‘new normal’ that many are talking about. Without social interaction, physical exercise and a looming fear of the unknown (job insecurity, financial stress, education stress, domestic violence, health … the list goes on) it is expected to see some surfacing of mental stress and anxiety. (https://www.cnbc.com/2020/04/17/long-term-mental-health-ptsd-effects-of-covid-19-pandemic-explained.html)

A few years ago when I was going through a very stressful period in my life, a very good friend of mine sent me the visual like this one below:

This was quite the game changer for me. I should have known this – coming from a christian upbringing the knowledge of the scriptures that ‘God will never leave me (Hebrews 13:5)’ (despite my circumstances or even my choices or that ”I don’t need to worry about tomorrow (Mathew 6:34) should have set me on the path of resilience.While I was not sinking (yet) I was clearly not walking on water (Matthew 14:22-33). And this image set me to reflect on what I was experiencing and take stock of the things I could control. With that perspective I was able to pull myself up (slowly, but in my own pace) to think of”whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy(—think about such things) -Philippians 4:8.” What a game changer! What I am saying is there are amazing tools out there to help us live well, couple that with the scriptures to truly inspire abundant living.

As many nations consider partial opening up of Economy, Industries, and Services, we are well aware that we will be entering a ‘new’ normal. Offices are operating from homes, Schools are conducting classes online, Parents are juggling work, home, kids schoolwork and kids all at once, Colleges are prepping for hybrid classes – it is a new normal (at least for a while). For some this change or facing the unknown can be extremely challenging. There will be some things out of our control that will clearly affect us, force us on a trajectory we did not plan and put us in an emergency mode for a period of time. Breathe.

Take time to breathe.

When you take a deep breath in, your heart rate quickens slightly. As you exhale, your heart rate slows. Repeated deep breaths will naturally bring your heart rate more in sync with your breath. This leads your brain to release endorphins, which are chemicals that have a natural calming effect. (https://www.neurocorecenters.com/blog/does-deep-breathing-really-do-anything, Updated April 23, 2019)

Use the visual below to list the things that you are in control of – your time and use of it, your skill (level), your responsibilities, your attitude, your perspective, the inner voice and such. Write them down within the paisley patterns on the tree.

The paisley (the symbols you see on this tree) is an ancient Zorastrian symbol for life and eternity. (http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20151021-paisley-behind-rocks-favourite-fashion). The things you are in control of are the things you have in your hands to shape and water to life.

Toddy Holeman, Chair, Department of Counseling & Pastoral Care of
Asbury Theological Seminary
recently wrote, ” Too often we spend our effort trying to control what we cannot control, and abandoning control of what is truly ours to manage. “

However, if at any point in time you need a lending hand to walk through this phase in your life, please reach out to a Counselor. You do not need to do this alone.

As you list the things you are in control of within the paisley or buta shapes (meaning life) list the things you are not in control of outside the paisley – the job market, other people’s thoughts and behaviors, the weather, the virus, the circumstances that you find yourself in, color of your skin, death, etc. Spend some time coloring the rest of the picture as you sit with it. If you would like pray asking God to guide your thoughts, please do so. God our Father and Creator is ever present and is all knowing (just as Jesus declares).

In the christian faith, we are reminded that We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ. Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity. (1 Corinthians 10:5 -The Message). Truly, God can help your thought life. We do believe that we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. (Ephesians 2:10)

We are created with good plans for a Hope and a Future, and our Creator will walk beside us all the way through.

You are an over-comer!

If you would like a copy of the visual to the tree, please fill the form below.

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