Over the past several months, we have used “A new normal” to describe our life and daily habits since the coronavirus pandemic began to impact our lives and communities. This change has brought so much uncertainty that we may find it difficult to establish a routine or to even identify what is normal for us. Our perspectives of what is acceptable and appropriate have also been shifted during this time.
The news and media coverage of this topic seems to stir up fear and cause added stress. It is important to remember that God is always with us, even in times of trouble and transition. In Genesis 28:16, it says: “Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and he said, Without any doubt the Lord is in this place, and I did not realize it.” God was there even though Jacob did not realize it.
Deuteronomy 31:6 says “So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.” We have all experienced some type of change during this pandemic. Even though the areas that change may vary across individuals, the outcome remains the same: You will be changed!
As we learn to navigate this new normal, there are several things you can do to help reduce stress, calm anxieties, and regain hope for your future.
1. Focus on what you can control
2. Pray about things out of your control
3. Manage stress levels by engaging in good self-care
Since our bodies are mostly made of up water, we thrive when we are well hydrated. Also, make sure you set aside time to have some fun. We feel better emotionally when we smile, laugh, and engage in something we truly enjoy. Lastly, creating a good exercise routine that you can do daily or weekly. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins which can boost your mood and reduce your stress levels. In 1 Corinthians 6:19 it says “Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself.”
4. Limit your COVID news intake
5. Social Distance over Social Isolation
Dr. Amen recently wrote a blog about how loneliness not only negatively impacts your emotional health, but your physical health as well. He explained that too much social isolation can lead to loneliness, which then leads to several problems including altered brain development in young children, cognitive decline in adults, impaired immune system, increased risk for suicide, alcohol and substance use disorders, depression, anxiety, and sleep problems. Dr. Amen highlighted the importance of spending time with others to reduce loneliness. This can be done through events online or socially distanced in-person meeting. Guidelines for social distance is 6 feet, which can easily be done with small groups in open spaces.
In Hebrews 10:24-25 it states “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” Also, in 1 Corinthians 14:26 it states “Well, my brothers and sisters, let’s summarize. When you meet together, one will sing, another will teach, another will tell some special revelation God has given, one will speak in tongues, and another will interpret what is said. But everything that is done must strengthen all of you.”
Dr. Brenna Grant Squires – Psychologist/Author
One last word of encouragement is found in 2 Timothy 1:7 (AMP): For God did not give us a spirit of timidity or cowardice or fear, but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of sound judgment and personal discipline [abilities that result in a calm, well-balanced mind and self-control].
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Other Mental Health Services at Sheltering Oaks Counseling
Your family may need help in more than one way. At Sheltering Oaks Counseling, we want to meet the mental health needs of every member of your family. Therefore, we offer a number of mental health services at our Wesley Chapel, FL based therapy clinic. For example, our therapists offer Christian counseling, counseling for young adults, therapy for cancer survivors and trauma therapy. We also have marriage counseling, family therapy, play therapy, and counseling for ministers. Not only can we help you in our Tampa area counseling offices, but we can also work with you anywhere in the state with online therapy in Florida.
Additionally, we offer several types of testing services, including neuropsychological testing, ADHD testing, psychoeducational evaluation, Gifted testing, and more. Finally, our specialty services for veterans and parents as IEP advocates can help you too! We would love to connect when you are ready to reach out.