Welcoming a New Year in a New Abnormal World
Here is a warm and hearty New Year greeting to our OHI community. As we enter into the new year, we would typically be looking forward to a fresh new year with a bright new future. But instead, we find ourselves striving for a return to normalcy.
Most of us will likely remember 2020 as the year Covid19 descended upon us and profoundly changed the way we live and relate to one another. Almost one year later, we are living in an era of anxiety, fear and a future marked by uncertainty. We are told this is the new normal, however, there is nothing normal about the world’s current state. Staying safe in this new world, requires heightened vigilance and sharp awareness as situations arise. It is in this context I want to address the concept of Situational Awareness. But first allow me to set the stage…
“In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit.” Judges 17:6
I first learned about the book of Judges in my youth from my Sunday school instructor. The book of Judges, from the Old Testament, examined the human condition as it spiraled downward into moral corruption. This part of Jewish history spanned 325 years and was marked by a cycle of sin, oppression, repentance, deliverance, then peace… only to repeat the cycle. With each cycle, Israel’s leadership (the Judges) grew more corrupt until Israel as a whole fell into self-destruction. The stories within the book of Judges, although deeply dark and disturbing, are meant as a cautionary tale and to generate hope. The descent into self-destruction occurred when the people of Israel turned away from God. And the stories effectively point out the need for God’s grace and for situational awareness.
The characteristics of that period – turmoil, disunity, hardship – are similar to today’s conditions. So let’s explore the concept of Situational Awareness and how to apply it to our current time.
What is Situational Awareness?
Situational Awareness (SA) is about noticing anomalies and determining what is likely to happen next. If you see something that is odd or abnormal, that is when you want to start analyzing the setting and then deciding how to respond. Develop a habit of noticing peculiarities or deviations from the norm. Sometimes it’s just a feeling; oftentimes your subconscious will notice something – that is your intuition speaking to you – trust your gut.
SA is considered an important aid to decision-making especially when it comes to protecting human life and property. Lack of SA can lead to accidents or in the case of health – illness. It is in the area of health that OHI can help.
Using Situational Awareness in a Covid19 World
When you must go out, it pays to be attentive to sanitation and hygiene. Are the facilities of companies that you visit mindful of the pandemic? Are they maintaining cleanliness? Are they monitoring staff and customers for compliance with health protective behavior such as mask-wearing and social distancing?
Here at OHI, we use situational awareness to inform our decisions in providing our guests with a sanitary and healthy environment. More on this later, but we are so proud of this accomplishment that we are now saying that OHI is the safest place you can be outside of your own home.
“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7
Today’s brave new abnormal has created a divergent paradigm in which we now have to live. It requires us to maintain an alert mindset because the Coronavirus, like the flu virus, could mutate and the vaccine will likely not be widely available until this Spring. The best defense is to be prepared for unexpected exposure to viruses, bacteria, and toxins. And the best way to do that is to practice self-care, to routinely work on improving and maintaining your health and well-being. Developing and boosting your immune system, taking vitamin D, washing your hands often, and wearing a mask in public settings are ways that can serve you in the event of an unexpected exposure. Here at OHI, we provide a complete program that focuses on wellness for the body, mind, and spirit. From diet to cleansing, you’ll learn self-care techniques that you can use for a lifetime.
Our busy fast-paced lifestyle makes it challenging for us to find time for self-care, and this especially impacts women. Women have traditionally been caretakers, and as much as our modern world strives for equality, this hasn’t changed all that much; instead it has increased the demands on working women. This makes it challenging for women to find time for self-care.
Self-Care is Vitally Important in The New Year
When we have people relying on us – co-workers, customers, family, and friends – we can’t afford to get sick. All of which makes self-care essential.
The English language is full of idioms that warn us not to overdo things: “You’re… biting off more than you can chew… spreading yourself too thin… burning a candle at both ends… running yourself into the ground… working like a dog… overtaxing yourself… pushing yourself too hard… working your fingers to the bone… wearing yourself out.”
The risk of failing to take time for self-care is that you can become stressed, irritable, angry, frustrated, and depressed. In short you can burn out, and become sick. The remedy is to develop a routine of taking care of you. Self-care doesn’t just happen; you have to actively plan it into your day. You should schedule it, write it in your calendar, and announce it to your friends and family to insure your commitment. Reserve self-care time then guard it.
A mistaken notion is that taking care of your self is selfish. It is not. Sometimes you simply have to say, “No.” You can’t satisfy everyone’s needs; you have to set limits. When you know how to take care of your needs, and do so, you are better prepared to take care of others. Remember: practicing self-care is practicing self love!
Self-care enables you to perform at your best and become more productive. When you reduce your stress, you relax and feel good, which in turn improves your self-esteem and makes you resilient. When you develop awareness of your personal needs and meet them, you will become well rested and energized. Now you will have clarity and sense of purpose, as well as knowing what has to be accomplished.
The Good News is Self-Care Doesn’t Have to Take a Lot of Time
There are many ways in which we can give ourselves the self-care we need. Start with only those things that must be done today. Identify your top priorities, and then stop over committing yourself. Don’t get caught up in perfectionism, it is okay to take imperfect action. An easy method is to give yourself extra time in the morning, so you don’t start your day off rushed. Get up a smidge earlier for a little “me time”. Another great place to start is by identifying and addressing your basic needs; make sure they are being met before you start helping someone else. Like the flight attendant says, “Put your oxygen mask on first before helping others.” Take some time to feel your feelings; too often we try to ignore this important aspect of our emotional system.
Getting organized is a big way to take care of yourself. De-clutter your space (home and office) and your time by eliminating stuff you don’t use and activities that waste your time (social media is an example). You might even consider making a Stop-Doing or NO list to help you remember.
“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22
Here at OHI, we’ll show you many ways in which to practice self-care. You’ll learn about feeding yourself the right foods for good nutrition and health. Our Stretch and Alpha classes will show you how to focus, strengthen, relax, and gain clarity. You’ll find solitude where you can spend time in prayer, quieting your mind, contemplation, reflection, and practicing gratitude. You will also learn how to release the past and things that no longer serve you. Best of all, you’ll develop your own community of like-minded individuals with whom you’ll form a lifelong connection. Maintaining your OHI connections will provide you with a sounding board and support group of people who understand your particular self-care needs better than anyone else.
At OHI Your Safety is Our Primary Interest
As I mentioned above OHI is the safest place you can be outside of your own home. In essence, OHI has created a safety bubble for our community. We have taken every conceivable precaution to provide a safe and sacred environment. Back in March, we established a safety plan that follows CDC protocols and involves three major pillars: preventing infectious diseases from entering the OHI campus; sterilizing the campus, guest rooms, and public areas to reduce the likelihood of disease transmission; and conducting ongoing temperature checks and Covid-19 testing for our employees.
Our safety measure include: 1) Pre-screening our guests at the time they book their reservation, before they arrive on our campus, and upon arrival to ensure they are symptom-free. 2) Covid-19 testing for our employees on a bi-weekly basis. 3) We installed special oxidizing Molekule air purifiers in all of our guest rooms and common areas. 4) We use electrostatic spray disinfection systems, and only safe, non-chemical cleaners. 5) We have smaller cohorts of guests on campus, including guests, staff and missionaries. OHI San Diego is limited to 60 program attendees on our 2-acre campus; OHI Austin is limited to 20 program attendees on our 14-acre campus.
Additionally, we updated our guest rooms – we call them the OHI for Life Wellness Rooms. Our wellness rooms feature organic cotton bedding, and wood flooring instead of carpet. They are cleaned with natural products.
We are open and optimistic about the future! You don’t have to wait for the pandemic to be over to visit us here at OHI. Come develop your personal self-care program for this new year.
Wishing you health and wellness in this blessed New Year.
Yours in prayer,
Robert P. Nees, Jr.,
Senior Pastor and Chairman
Optimum Health Institute of San Diego and Austin
At Optimum Health Institute, you will learn the value, benefits and tools for self-care so you can perform at your best and become more productive in 2021. During your visit, our caring team can help you achieve your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual goals for optimal health. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org, and call us at (800) 588-0809
to make your reservation.