Tips for Handling the COVID-19 Pandemic

Each day, the world seems to wake up to more headlines regarding the spread of COVID-19. As cities limit travel, business hours, and even enact stay-at-home procedures, many people are experiencing extreme stress, confusion, and grief.

One doesn’t need to lose a loved one to experience grief during this time. There are so many other losses attached to living through a pandemic; some include: losing your job, a drastic decrease in 401K savings, the loss of privacy (since most of your family will be home), the inability to go to church, and the feeling of no longer being fully safe and secure.

This can be overwhelming, especially if you are dealing with several types of grief all at once. We’ve compiled some healthy tips and suggestions on how you can navigate this challenging time. We hope that these suggestions may bring you some comfort and peace.

Do Not Panic

Whenever we feel out of control, it can be very easy to panic. This is a normal human response to something so jarring and unusual. However, panicking is not necessary. It is good to be aware and alert to what is happening around you, but you must also remember that nothing in this world is permanent. If you find yourself slipping into a panic or anxiety attack try repeating the phrase “this too shall pass.” Try to think past what is happening now, and envision your life once this situation has resolved.

Limit Your News Intake

The 24 hour news cycle, while helpful in some ways, can really hinder your mental health. It is easy to read headline after headline about what’s happening in the world, and envision all the possible worst-case scenarios that may arise. While being informed is a good thing, try to limit your media exposure. Give yourself a limit each day on the amount of news you intake. When you do seek information, only check with trusted sources such as the CDC, WHO, and your local state government.

REMEMBER: There are many unreliable resources circling throughout the web. Only trust information from verified sources.

Connect with Family and Friends

It’s important during times of crisis to reach out to family and friends. Keeping in mind guidelines set by the CDC and your local government, perhaps a phone call or video chat would be best, especially if you’re reaching out to older friends or relatives. Talking frequently can help combat feelings of isolation or loneliness you may feel. This is also the time to care for others who may be included in at-risk groups. In many cases, caring for others is a wonderful way to channel extra energy you may have from anxiety or fear.

Explore Technology and New Hobbies

We are very lucky that we live in a modern age of technology. Not only does technology help us connect with others through video chatting and text, but it also opens the door to new hobbies and experiences. If you find yourself stuck at home, perhaps taking an online class on something you’re passionate about is a good idea. Maybe now is the time to do some genealogy research on your family. Maybe a favorite artist or talk show host of yours is sharing special videos on YouTube – you just need to take the time to explore! Technology aside, this time can be a chance to complete other tasks, such as preparing your garden, reading a good book, or doing a deep clean of your home. 

Spend Time with God  

While the world may feel out of control, there is one thing in our lives that we can always depend on – prayer. Prayer requires no supplies, no specific location, and no expectations. God is always waiting to be with us, and He will never waiver in supporting and comforting us during times of hardship. As the coronavirus continues on during our season of Lent, perhaps this is a time to enter deeply into Christ’s own journey through the desert. God is here to walk us through each step of every day. Place your trust in Him. Grow in your dependence on Him. The more you give to God, the less anxiety, fear, and grief you will feel.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Reinhold Niebuhr, American Theologian.
Post written by Katie Karpinski 

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