by Rev. Dr. Peonita Harris, Psy.D., LMFT, CSAT, CDWF / in Active, Anxiety, Articles, Blog, Depression, Emotional Health, Healing, Physical Health, Self Improvement / tags: anxiety, depression, mental health
We all want another chance to get something right, or to be granted a do-over. The one question that continues to be paramount is: How do we get through this time? A time that appears to have no set end. Every report, conference, appointment has been completely refocused to include the impact of COVID-19 on our society, bodies, business, finances, families, churches, communities, race, culture and emotions. Most Americans have experienced heightened anxiety, low mood, loneliness and isolation.
When I first started learning therapy skills, I learned the power of reframing. I took a workshop that was about interventions. We had to describe the picture we saw as the presenter placed a different frame over each picture. I started thinking about this exercise a couple of days ago and thought, in order to make this better, we have to think about this time differently. We need to REFRAME this. How can we not only survive this, but thrive through this so that at the end we are better than before? I struggled to this of this differently. This is only a reset, so that we can rest, so that we can recommit. Let me explain what I mean.
Reset – Reset can be viewed as a re-entry to the state of zero, or to start over, or to be given another chance. To start afresh. I thought, the year has already started, that was our reset. We made commitments to ourselves, we started new schedules, started a new journal and thought through the old. We said farewell to Auid Lang Syne (Scottish for days gone by). We let go so that we can enter in. We embraced what could be and set our hearts to engage in new possibilities with great anticipation. Our goals were set, our schedules were set, we were engaged and then all of a sudden it all came to a halt. In Using a different frame: We have been given the gift to reset again. What a treasure and what a wonderful opportunity. In resetting, we can clear out the last three months and try one more time. What was not there prior, we can now add. We can start anew and embrace the beginning once again.
Rest – During this period of time we have also been given the gift of rest. I think about this more in terms of respite. Although we were only in the 3rd month of the year, some of us were deeply engaged in completing our goals and well-set to move through to the summer with great anticipation of warmth and beauty. We were running hard and moving fast. All of a sudden it all stopped. In Using a different frame: I picture respite as a little slice of joy. I see myself resting near a pond with my toes in the warm water, the warmth of the sun on my back and the sound of beautiful birds chirping in the background. I lean back to get the full warmth of the sun as I listen to the most beautiful sound that only God can create – Birds chirping, the warm wind blowing and the thought that I’m in the best place ever. This is what the scripture means in Hebrew about entering into His rest — His rest. Everything about respite was created by Him. Even this small slice of time in which we are resting, and becoming comfortable with what is so odd, with what we cannot control. Take a deep breath and enter into His rest. Hebrew 4:10 – For whoever enters into His rest, he also ceases from his own works, as God did from His.
Recommitment – The commitment we made at the beginning of the year, a couple of months ago seem so far away. In Using a different frame: This is an opportunity for a recommitment to self. One of the promises that we don’t want to break is a promise we made to the self. The promise of want to do better, be better and live better. Some of us had already picked up bad habits. We had fallen back into the late arrivals, the bad eating, the loss of sleep, the loss of connection with others. In the 3rd month, this started to look like the old schedule we wanted nothing to do with. This period of time gives us the opportunity to recommit to self. To do what we said. It also gives us the opportunity to recommit to family. What a wonderful word. It is always and has been complex but yet deep. It has been layered, but yet beautiful. Family is this amazing group of people that we all have been gifted with who teach us so much. Family teaches us about how deeply we can love, and how often we can forgive. This is a recommitment to our faith, as well. The very essence of who we are and why we are. It is a reassurance of what we stand for and who we are.
Yes, we will get through this. What appears to be suffering, fear and sadness, we will get through it. We will come out of this and we will be better than before as we use this time to reset, rest and recommit!
About the Author: Rev. Dr. Peonita Harris, Psy.D., LMFT, CSAT, CDWF