One of my concerns, as a pastor, during this time of coronavirus is how people are staying mentally healthy. Even during the best of times, there are plenty of stresses in life but this year has brought extra concerns. There is increased pressure on our work/life balance, more isolation from friends, and now the days are getting shorter and darker. For many people, this is not helpful.
If you are someone who struggles please know that it is okay to take care of yourself. You may wish to reach out to a doctor or mental health professional for some support. That is wisdom, not weakness. Taking care of our mental health is just as important as taking care of our physical health.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Watch your routines – Our regular routines have changed and that can bring disruption and leave us feeling unsettled. Intentionally making some new routines can bring a sense of normalcy. Whether that’s a coffee break every morning or a walk each afternoon, having some repetition is helpful. Keep up good eating and exercise habits. Go to bed at a regular time.
- Cut back on news & social media – Less social media is good advice anytime but if things start to feel overwhelming it is better to cut back. Find a good book or play a board game with the family but leave the phone alone for a while.
- Find a friend to vent with – We all need a place where we can share and be heard. Often this is best done outside our family circle. You might need to ask a friend if you can just vent. I’m in a Whatsapp group with some friends and it has been one of the most helpful things for me this year. Being able to share my real frustrations in a safe place is refreshing.
- Practice turning it over to God in prayer – we can pray specifically about our concerns and anxiety and ask God to lift them. We might have to repeat this often but he is interested and willing to help.
Take a few moments now and ask yourself if there are any changes you need to make. By paying attention to how you are doing today, you can help prevent more difficulties tomorrow.
You will keep in perfect peace
all who trust in you,
all whose thoughts are fixed on you!
Trust in the Lord always,
for the Lord God is the eternal Rock. (Isaiah 26:3-4)