Today’s blog post comes from Encompass Therapist Jordan Kamwesa, LPC. Jordan acknowledges the tough reality that we are all being stretched with due to the health crisis. Juggling family, school, jobs and the unknown creates stress and tension. She invites us to shift into a growth mindset to help us persevere and love our families a little better each day.
Moms and Dads, we are all experiencing the interruption of COVID-19. We are learning how to navigate new technology for work and helping our children gain an education online. We are trying to wrap our minds around what the impact of this pandemic will have on our world, on our country and on our families. We are being stretched in so many ways that at times we may feel “thin.” Our thoughts and emotions run deep but are now close to the surface where they are easily accessible and effortlessly triggered.
Maybe it’s the constant presence of noise or the unending housework that seems to have tripled since the stay-at-home order began. Maybe it’s the fear of financial struggle or the anxiety that comes with work productivity while working in the same space your little ones are playing Legos and Playdough. Maybe you fear losing a job or having your job becoming obsolete. Maybe it’s the lack of support you feel right now because your community that once physically surrounded you are all safely tucked in their own homes instead of planning get-togethers. Maybe it’s the extra responsibilities that have been put on you to teach your children curriculum that you learned years ago and may feel inadequate to properly teach.
Whatever it is that’s causing you anxiety, stress and discouragement, you’re not alone. We’re all feeling the tension. Instead of allowing that tension to seep into the crevices of everyday life, we have an opportunity to engage in a growth mindset that can produce hope, fruitfulness and innovation.
This type of mindset does not have to take away from the seriousness that this pandemic deserves. The pain and suffering that you and other families around the world are enduring is very real and we should lament as this pandemic is not as it should be. However, a growth mindset shifts our focus from negative thinking and anxiety to positive thinking and gratitude. Your circumstances don’t change, but your mindset does.
As a parent we have the power to set the mood for our household, and it starts with examining our own minds and hearts. We can create a mood of joy and thankfulness during this season, despite the hardships we may be facing.
Here are a set of questions to help shift the negativity towards something that can encourage growth:
1. Am I thriving or surviving during this season? What would it take for me to thrive? 2. Who do I want to be at the end of this as a parent? As a spouse? As a friend? As a co-worker? 3. How do I hope my family will grow closer during this season? 4. What is going well in my life? 5. What parts of my circumstances are in my control? How can I focus on those rather than what is not in my control? 6. How can I create meaningful shared experiences with my family? How do we want to remember this season? 7. How can we come alongside others during this pandemic?
As we reflect and are honest with ourselves, I am reminded of Paul’s words of encouragement and hope in Philippians 4:4-8, NLT. Let’s meditate on these words allowing them to calm our minds, settle our hearts and encourage us to be hopeful.
Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again, – rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon. Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. And now dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
As we are leading our families through this difficult season, let’s pray for minds that are fixed on truth, honor, righteousness, purity, love and admiration. Let our hearts spur us to loving actions and kind words because loving our families is one thing that has not changed because of COVID-19 and it is one thing we can choose to do well.
Jordan Kamwesa, LPC is an outpatient therapist with Encompass serving teen and young adult clients. She focuses on depression, anxiety and life transitions. Her passion is to come alongside clients and empower them to establish personal goals and dreams that bring passion and joy to their lives. She loves equipping and encouraging them along the way.