The pandemic, which took many by surprise, is going on longer than most of us expected. Many people are struggling with fear, frustration, and fatigue due to COVID-19.
Do I have it? How long is this going to last? When will we get back to normal? Will we EVER get back to normal? If you’re struggling with any of these questions, you’re not alone.
I wish I could tell you when things will go back to normal. I wish I could tell you this will all be over soon. I can’t. But, I believe with God’s help we will get through this.
Below are a few practices that can help you find strength in the Lord during this pandemic.
1. Allow yourself to grieve.
Psalm 34:18 says, “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.”
Don’t pretend like everything is okay. Give yourself permission, time, and space to grieve. Admit how you’re feeling to someone safe. Don’t spend every minute dwelling on how bad things are, but don’t deny your feelings either. REMEMBER: You can’t heal what you don’t allow yourself to feel.
2. Address your needs.
Mark 6:31 says, “Then Jesus said, ‘Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.’ He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his apostles didn’t even have time to eat.”
Jesus took time to rest and so should you. Eat healthy. Stay hydrated. Get enough exercise and sleep. Spend time on a hobby you enjoy. Go outside and spend time in nature. Practice safe social distancing. Watch something funny. Read a good book. Cut back on news and screen time. REMEMBER: Self-care is not selfish.
3. Anchor your mind positively.
Philippians 4:8 says, “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.”
Don’t build a house in the land of negativity. Focus on all the good things God has given you. Make a list of 3-5 things each day you’re thankful for and keep that list in front of you. Take time to reflect on it when you feel discouraged.
4. Ask safe people for help.
Proverbs 17:17 says, “A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need.”
Phone a friend or family member each day. Stay in touch over social media. Zoom a teammate to check-in each workday. See what activities are available in your area.
Proverbs 19:20 says, “Get all the advice and instruction you can, so you will be wise the rest of your life.”
It’s okay to admit that you aren’t okay. If you find that, after taking the steps in this email, you’re still struggling, it may be time to consider counseling. Meet with one of the pastors at your church or a Christian counselor in your area. You might not be able to meet with them in person, but you can meet online or over the phone.
5. Attend church online.
Galatians 6:2 says, “Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.”
Church is the best place to begin building healthy relationships. Find a good church in your area, join a small group, and sign-up for a ministry team. With COVID-19, churches might not be meeting onsite, but they are meeting online.
6. Allocate time to help others.
Proverbs 11:25 says, “The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.”
Doing good for others paves the way to feeling good. Knock on your neighbor’s door, ask how they’re holding up and if there’s anything you can help with. See what serving opportunities are available in your church and community. Send encouraging notes and texts to the people in your life. Ask how you can help out at work.
7. Abide in God’s love.
Jesus said in Matthew 11:28b, “…Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”
God has not forgotten about you. He is with you and he is for you. This pandemic hasn’t been easy and it’s going to take a while, but you’ll get through it with his help. Spend time in God’s Word and prayer each day so you can plug in to his power for your life.