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During these uncertain times, I feel so impressed to acknowledge anyone who feels paralyzed by coronavirus fear and anxiety, lonely as they shelter in place away from people they love, and others who are devastated by loss, or filled with worry or dread.
I’m thinking about the women who are scrolling their feeds listening to mothers complain about their now home-schooled children while their own arms and womb remain painfully empty.
I’m thinking of the empty nesters, elderly, and widowed who are drowning in their own loneliness, wondering how many of their remaining golden days/months/years might be filled with this isolation and concern.
My heart goes out to those who are battling illness, fearing for their lives, and those grieving an unexpected, heart wrenching loss.
I see you. I’m grieving with you. I’m praying for you. Don’t give up.
If you’re looking for hope or strategies or distractions—- this is for you. I want to help turn the tide of your ship if I can.
Here are a few practical ideas for you to consider that might lighten the load:
1) Go outside.
You know what I find so comforting? The fact that the sun, trees, birds, and squirrels have no idea something’s wrong. They’re not watching the news or trying to find toilet paper and bread. They are living their lives joyfully as though everything is normal. Because in some dimensions, it is.
Going outside for some fresh air can make all the difference to ground us again and remind us we are OK. If you are able, go for a walk. It will boost your endorphins and get your blood flowing. I often find that some movement helps me process my thoughts and clear my head of mental weight. But if walking isn’t an option, just sit outdoors and take in the sights and sounds of a world that remains carefree.
2) Find Community.
Isolation can be a recipe for fear, depression, anxiety, and worse. Even if there are people in your home (ps—sometimes a home full of people can be the loneliest!) it’s a good idea to find people outside of the home to be in virtual community with. Need some ideas?
- Check and see what kinds of conversations are happening in the Facebook groups you are already a member of. Some of mine are super active in providing support right now and there are excellent conversations taking place. Finding crickets in yours? Strike up a new convo! Who knows, maybe other people will respond because they’re needing it too.
- If you’re not in any groups or people aren’t feeling chatty, there are SO MANY open groups on Facebook you can join. Just navigate to the groups section and you can search “Support Groups” to find tons of options. You can also refine your search—- ie Single Mom Support Groups, Empty Nester Support Groups, Healthcare Worker Support Groups, Infertility Support Groups, and so on. It might take some sifting, but search through until you find a winner.
- Get your friends and co-workers to connect via video. You can use a tool like Facetime or Skype to connect real time. Every Friday, my husband and his co-workers have a virtual Happy Hour using Microsoft Teams! They LOVE it! It’s a huge spirit lifter for this group that used to see each other every day and are now working from home.
3) Reconnect with friends and family.
Got an old friend you haven’t spoken to in months or years due to busy schedules? Haven’t seen your Grandma, Aunt, or Cousin since Christmas? Plan a call. Reconnect. If not now, when? It will brighten your day to feel connection and be present with another human. ? We’re all in this together.
Better yet—video chat with Skype or Facetime! Human beings are wired for face to face connection. It’s a good way to boost your happy hormones and overall well-being.
Another great tool is the Marco Polo app which allows you to leave each other video messages (kinda like text for video) as your schedule allows. If you find it difficult to plan a time with someone while juggling the demands of working from home and homeschooling kiddos, you can record a video for someone when it’s convenient for you, and they can watch and respect when it’s convenient for them.
4) Think about what you’re thinking about.
All feelings begin with our thoughts. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by worry and fear—- take stock of what things you are thinking about. Are you disaster planning? Are you running terrible scenarios in your head? Are you thinking about all of the bad things going on?
Why?? Is it helping or changing anything?
“I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.” -Mark Twain
It will help your well-being, mood, and energy tremendously if you give equal thought time to positive things. Look for the helpers! What good things are happening? How can you make lemonade from lemons right now?
One key tip? Turn off the news! Avoid fear stirring social media content. You only need enough to be informed. You don’t need to soak in that mess all day long!
5) Work on your identity in Christ.
Now is the time to seek God like you never have before. Read your bible, listen to sermons and podcasts, pray, and ask God Who He wants to be for you in this season.
I would highly recommend that you read Psalm 91 every day. One of my friends is reading it from a different bible translation each day and it is encouraging her tremendously. This morning I read it from the Amplified translation and WOW! That put it in a whole different light!
There’s a wonderful minister by the name of Graham Cooke who tells a compelling story from his early days in ministry. One day back in the early 1990s, God told Graham He wanted him to start reading Psalm 91. He told Graham to keep reading it until He told him to stop and not to read anything else! Graham responded by asking God— for how long, Lord? And God told Him to read only Psalm 91 for at least 4 MONTHS! God explained that we become what we meditate on and He wanted Graham’s life experience to become the embodiment of Psalm 91 because that’s what he was created for. This blew my mind! Sure enough, Graham is one of the most secure, peaceful, fearless, loving, and revelation-filled men I’ve ever listened to. There’s wisdom here. We become what we meditate on. Fear-filled news or Fearless faith?
Here are some of my favorite faith-based books for this season:
6) Try daily meditation.
A few years ago, I went to a counselor because I was overwhelmed by writer’s block and I wanted to get to the bottom of it. In the very first session, they recommended that I adopt a daily mindfulness practice. It wasn’t obvious to me at the time how that would help, but I was pleasantly surprised to see the block lift almost immediately! The added benefits were that I could hear God’s voice more clearly, think more sharply, and relax and de-stress easily.
Meditation and mindfulness are specifically linked to lower stress and anxiety among many other benefits. If you are battling stress, coronavirus fear or anxiety during this season— or if you just need and escape from all the noise—I would highly recommend you give this a whirl!
Here are my favorite meditation apps (starting with my favorites!):
Soultime (Because it features on of my favorite writers and speakers, Danny Silk and some wonderful music)
Abide (Has GREAT sleep stories!)
Calm (very robust app)
Headspace (the main speaker has a soothing Australian accent)
7) Consider virtual counseling.
Sometimes our fear and anxiety are intense enough that we need some help— and that’s OK. I have personally received counseling or therapy at many different times in my life and I highly recommend it. There’s no reason for us to live in emotional pain or to struggle alone when there is so much help available.
What’s so amazing is that now it’s SUPER easy to get help virtually! These days it’s available via video chat (my fave!), phone, text, and instant message. There are many practices that are now specializing in coronavirus fear and anxiety, too.
You can contact my personal counselors:
(Tell ‘em Lizzie sent you and they’ll take extra special care of you!)
Bethesda Family Services
Dominic Herbst (father) or Joseph Herbst (son)
Or request online: RESTORING RELATIONSHIPS MINISTRY
OR Use the app TALKSPACE
(I’ve never tried this, but heard good things!)
Try the promocode RISE from Rachel Hollis! I’m not sure if it’s still legit but worth a shot!
Hey there friend—are ya still with me? We’re gonna get through this. Coronavirus fear and anxiety can be managed and one day this will all be behind us.
Let me know if you try any of the stuff I mentioned above and how it worked for you. And if you have any other ideas and suggestions for my readers on how to cope and stay emotionally healthy right now, please share away in the comments. I love you, guys!
More resources for you: