"As an adult, I have trouble understanding it all and finding ways to navigate through this world we find ourselves in," shares Cornerstone School Counselor Jillian Cosgrove. "If this is a challenge for me, how much more so is it for our kids, whether they be elementary or secondary students?”
Mrs. Cosgrove reached out to counselor colleagues Brandon Browne from Mind and Body Christian Health Group in Kennesaw and David Sturgess from Foundry Counseling just off Marietta Square. These gentlemen have immense hearts for the Lord and for students and families to provide you with some great tools, techniques, and insights for helping your family navigate our current circumstances in the world today.
Click here to watch an encouraging message from Brandon Browne that includes the following tips:
- Managing Stress - Don't confuse possible scenarios with likely scenarios.
- Ask yourself, “Is this possibility the most accurate and most helpful thought I can have?” Then say it out loud, or write it down. It gives a new perspective on your thoughts.
- Find a verse of scripture speaking on a topic you are struggling with and meditate on it, internalize the message, and be refreshed.
As I, David, write this, it is September 1, 2020. I don’t remember how many days we have been experiencing the pandemic lifestyle officially. Here is what I wrote on Day 12:
“So why is Day 12 of my COVID-19 Pandemic Journal talking about The 4 Laws of Combat? Simply because we are stuck in our homes with very different personalities, very different tasks, and a high level of stress… for at least 29 more days in my case.
While we aren’t in the Battle of Ramadi, we are in the middle of some huge battles being fought within our homes. Many of us are fighting battles within ourselves, and we are losing.
This happens with the 38-year-old parent carrying their family’s entire world on their shoulders while still trying to manage a team from the office virtually, save as many jobs as possible while living in fear they will lose theirs. This happens in their little 8-year-old who just wants to go play with her friends and can’t figure out how to work the stupid computer link for their brand-new virtual learning class they didn’t choose to sign up for.”
Sound familiar? “For at least 29 more days…” Ha! Wouldn’t that have been fun!? As counselors, we look for patterns in people’s thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. These patterns help identify where unhealthy and/or unwanted things occur, which leads to being able to identify what we have control over versus what we cannot control.
When all of this first started, the first 3 weeks were a roller coaster. When summer started, the first 3 weeks were a repeat of the first 3 weeks of the pandemic.
I am noticing the same pattern happening as the fall semester begins. Week one is total chaos and scrambling to figure out how to keep 15 plates spinning. The second week is feeling pretty good about figuring out somewhat of a new routine. The third week is absolute total emotional exhaustion.
For different folks, the frequency, intensity, and duration has varied by a couple of days or so give or take; however, the patterns are remaining largely the same.
We must practice grace, patience, and forgiveness, towards ourselves and others, consistently.
Much of what is happening we cannot control. That brings on many different justified and unjustified thoughts and feelings.
Nonjudgmentally write down what you have control over. Then nonjudgmentally write down what you do not have control over.
Problem solve what you CAN control.
Grieve and cope with what you CANNOT control.
Each day is new. Sometimes on the harder days, the afternoon is new, and celebrate surviving the morning.
Be intentional about reaching out to folks.
HAND write notes to people.
Try to stay off technology as much as possible. We are on it for work and school much more than we used to be.
Stay away from the news and gossip social media, “nothing is new under the sun.”
Be kind to yourself.
“When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they came together. And one of them, an expert in the law, asked a question to test him: ‘Teacher, which command in the law is the greatest?’ He said to him, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important command. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.’” Matthew 22:34-40