What is the “New Normal”…..Will I be Ready?

By Molly W. Blancke, MPA, BSW, Executive Director

“For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel:
In returning and rest you shall be saved;
 in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” Is. 30:15

Now that COVID-19 rates of infection are lessening along with a higher percentage of those fully vaccinated, how do we resume our pre-pandemic lives? Will we have another outbreak? Will we ever feel confident in large crowds?  How will our lives change? These are questions that no one can answer. However, before we propose to resume a pre-pandemic ‘normal’ life, we need to recognize and resolve any of the following common mental health issues that we may have experienced as a result of the pandemic during the last 15 months:

  • Fatigue that often poses as burnout; feeling tired even after plenty of sleep; being overwhelmed by so much work yet having problems focusing; wanting to ‘seek community’ but still reluctant to leave home.

  • Anger that manifests itself either towards the pandemic itself and losses incurred as a result or towards others, as seen in ‘road rage’ and irritability to the point of attacking others with harmful words, accusations, even sometimes resulting in physical violence.

  • Anxiety and stress that has snowballed. Studies show anxiety to be three times the problem that it was in 2019; substance abuse rates have risen drastically in many homes.

  • Problems sleeping during the pandemic are reported in two ways: those who cannot get to sleep or stay asleep for long periods of time and those who sleep too much, unmotivated to get out of bed in the morning, possibly as a result of depression. 

  • Strained relationship issues with spouses and other close family members. These stresses have in some cases led to verbal abuse or domestic violence.

  • Extended grief over the losses we have incurred including the loss of loved ones, complicated by perhaps not being able to be with them during their illness; loss of a job or money; loss of health; in some cases, loss of purpose in life.

  • Insecurity about the future, especially in deciding how to incorporate the new with the old.  Pastors and church leaders are among those who are uncertain of what changes are needed to continue spreading the gospel while keeping their church intact in the midst of lessening attendance and donations. Where is God directing the Church of today?

While many of these issues may seem daunting, refocusing on God as the priority in our lives and seeking Him in prayer and in Sabbath rest can make a huge difference in how we respond to whatever we are facing.  One’s perspective can often provide the motivation needed to conquer fear and move forward. However, if habits of resting, proper diet, exercise and doing things you enjoy with those you love no longer seems to take away your pain, fear or anxiety, please consider calling the Lutheran Counseling Center for help. A caring, Christian counselor can walk with you through your struggles and help you process your losses, giving you the strength and courage necessary to be open to God’s future direction. 



Molly W. Blancke has been the Executive Director of Lutheran Counseling Center since 2006. In addition to holding degrees in social work and in administration, Mrs. Blancke is an accomplished musician and has served a number of churches in that capacity.