“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” — Victor Frankl
It is safe to say this New Year feels bittersweet for all of us. More so, perhaps, than at many times before in our lives.
The last time I wrote, we were just beginning to cope with wearing masks indoors. It’s been 2 more months of still being in a COVID world. We could never have dreamed or imagined that we would be days before Rosh Hashanah and having to make really tough choices and decisions about how we will observe Rosh Hashanah 5781. Is it wearing some of you down? I know it is challenging for me and my loved ones…some of whom I have been unable to see now for 9 months!
Dear Kol HaCovid community, we must ACCEPT. Whatever your perspective is, accepting that we are where we are will make what we are dealing with a lighter burden. This year, no matter who we are, the High Holy Days are going to involve CHANGE. Change is often anxiety provoking and stressful for many of us. Notice how you feel when you think of changing something you have been used to doing? I feel scared and nervous, ‘what if’ questions pop in my head, and I feel a little frustrated.
Change = unpredictability + uncertainty + uncontrollability
All of these conditions can make the most calm of us feel anxious.
However, with a different lens, the following can also be true:
Change = opportunity + flexibility + growth
Change is an invitation to examine our perspective. Change often makes us feel anxious because it serves as a threat to OUR plans. Especially as we are in the days preceding Rosh Hashana, perhaps we can take a step back and connect to the idea that there is a plan…it’s just not MY plan.
The following ‘turn of phrase’ helps me manage better when change is in front of me. We are all used to the thought or statement “why is this happening TO me?”. When I’m caught up in this headspace, I tell myself “this isn’t happening to me, it is happening FOR me!”. When something is happening FOR me, it becomes an opportunity instead of a threat.
The acronym below for ACCEPT may give us some direction on how to redirect ourselves if the ways we are trying to manage and cope are simply not working.
A = Adjust my expectations: recognize what is beyond my control and realize what I can control
C = Care for myself and others
C = Can I make different choices?
E = Everyone is in the same situation, I am not alone
P = Push myself to grow
T = Treat myself and others with love and care
Wishing everyone a Ksiva v’Chasima Tova L’Shana Tova u’Mesukah. May we be written and sealed for a good and sweet year!
Shana Tova and Shabbat Shalom,
Dr. Maline Glogauer, Ph.D., C.Psych
(September 17, 2020)
**If you are experiencing any distress due to the COVID virus, please see the Kol HaKovid website for “Mental Health Resources”, or call Toronto RELIEF Resources at 416-789-1600.**