It’s scary out there. The path before us is unclear. Our world is facing a crisis that threatens everything that is familiar to us. You are probably like me and have scoured everything online to find out more, to figure it out, and to see how long all of this will last. It has left us panicked and afraid because we don’t know what is going to happen. The uncertainty is overwhelming.
If we are struggling with a loss, then the uncertainty becomes paralyzing, because we are already fragile. We have all suffered loss to a degree, some of it is recent and painfully raw. Just a few weeks ago, where I live in Middle Tennessee, we were hit with a series of powerful, devastating tornados. These destructive storms took people’s homes and loved ones away. Then a week later, the impact of the Covid -19 virus began to be real. The victims of the tornado didn’t even have time to soak in the reality of their situation.
That may be where you are right now. You are already hurting, whether it is the loss because of a Tornado that ravaged your community or a loss because of other circumstances. Then the Corona Virus hit and all that came with it. The anxiety and fear that accompanies uncertainty can be worse that the virus itself. Will we or our loved ones get sick? What about our jobs, our future, and our finances? How long will we have to isolate in loneliness? All of the dread can be crippling.
That is why it is important that we are intentional right now to take care of our minds and bodies, especially if we are currently walking the road of sorrow. There are some specific things that we can do that will be helpful during this time of uncertainty.
Limit exposure to the news
While it is important to be informed, it can be harmful to constantly be checking the news and negative reports. I had a news app that notified me of updates regarding Covid-19. There was a continual flow of bad news coming through my phone. I realized I was so much on edge that my heart was beating erratically, and I was struggling with panic. I disabled those notifications and chose to limit my exposure to the news to a certain amount of time and also to as much fact-based reporting as possible. The whole chapter of Philippians 4 in the Bible is wonderful in dealing with anxiety, but Philippians 4:8 is especially helpful to me when my mind is spiraling out of control.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things.”
Then it goes on to say that if we do this, the peace of God will be with us. We need God’s peace more than ever right now. So, instead of filling our minds with the constant noise of doom, we need to fill our minds with true and lovely thoughts. Some helpful ways to do this might be:
Every hour think of at least one thing you are grateful for
Listen to uplifting music
Listen to inspirational podcasts, church service or audio books
Start and end the day with scripture first thing, (before social media, email or news) read or listen to a pre-determined passage in the Bible. Do the same before bed.
Go outside if you can
If you’ve followed me for long, you know that this is my default for most everything. I really connect with God through nature.
Psalms 19:1 says that
“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands.”
When I am in His creation, I see order and beauty. Not everyone connects with nature the way I do, but there is scientific evidence that being outside is beneficial physically, as well as emotionally. It brings health to our bodies by lowering stress, blood pressure and even your heart rate. So, I encourage you to be intentional about getting outside:
When you feel stressed go outside and observe God’s creation
If you are working from home, set a timer and every 60-90 minutes get away from your computer and take a 10-15 walk outside.
If you are able, and the weather cooperates, go for longer hikes or walks a few times a week.
The road ahead is unclear. We don’t know what lies ahead, but God does. He sees our futures with the utmost clarity and will guide us through to the other side of these hard days.