Groan. Oh no, not another coronavirus article. I know I am sick of them too. But hopefully, you will find this one might provide the encouragement that you need.
Have you ever wondered how the world ever recovered from World War 2? Yet, surprisingly, it did. It actually blows my mind. For this reason, for a long time, I have had a fascination with this era especially in regard to how it affected the lives of the people living in various countries. My curiosity and wonder keep leading me to read many books about this time period, some of it historical fiction, some non-fiction as well.
The coronavirus COVID-19 is wreaking havoc on the world. Whether you are skeptic, have your head in the sand with a la-la-la attitude, are on the verge of panic, or somewhere in between, one thing is for sure. We are all being impacted by this pandemic.
Some of us are affected by the isolation, suddenly finding ourselves with more downtime and maybe even loneliness, while others of us have more demands put on us. I am thinking of parents whose children are home because of school closures, healthcare workers, and emergency personnel, just to name a few who are impacted. As a registered nurse, I get this. Also, disappointment abounds due to canceled plans and change of circumstances. The financial impact is another aspect with the loss of income, the stock market plummeting, and other hits to the pocketbook. Plus we are having to be more resourceful with food, medications, and supplies. All of this, and I have not even mentioned the fear and anxiety that can hang over us ominously.
A couple of days ago I noticed that I was feeling more gloomy. The media is full of somber reports, covering little else besides the coronavirus. Hoarders are coming out of the cracks in the concrete. Streets are empty. Shelves are bare. In addition, the unknown is alarming.
So I did some thinking and soul-searching and this is what I came up with:
10 Ways to Cope with the COVID-19 Pandemic
- Say no to anxiety and fear. This is easier said than done, and to tell you the truth, the only way I can do it is to “Trust God, and roll with it”. I say this to myself often. I fall back on my belief that God is sovereign; He’s in control. Here are my top 2 Bible verses that I go to often when assaulted by my dark and quivering emotions: 1) “Do not fear for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10. and 2) “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7. These are great verses to write down on 3 X 5 cards and memorize. I have used them countless times.
- Embrace it. Make the most of the situations you are finding yourselves in. Since you can’t change most of what is happening, change your attitude and do what you can to make the most of it. Live in the present. Learn new things like how to cook, go for a walk, turn on some fun music and dance, watch a funny movie, laugh and smile.
- Do what you would not normally have time to do. Like, make Barbie clothes. I think of Edith Schaeffer who describes in one of her books how she was taken from her busy, fulfilling life serving people to caring for her ailing mother-in-law in a dark apartment for months. She used the time to hand sew Barbie clothes for her granddaughters, which they immensely enjoyed. Or have a C. S. Lewis kind of day, which I fondly refer to times when I can sit by a fire and read.
- Focus on, “I am okay this moment”, because 99.99% of the time we truly are okay this minute, this moment. Did someone just put a bullet through your head? Are you in the middle of a burning building? Are you having a heart attack right now? Did you just get struck by lightning? Forgive my hyperbole, but I just want to encourage a little perspective.
- Plan ahead emotionally. Ask yourself this question at the beginning of each day, “What is something that might stress me out or cause fear today?” and then address it with, “And how would my best self handle it”? This idea was taken from Brendon Burchard’s The High Performance Planner. I have found this very helpful in preparing myself to brace for whatever the day may bring forth.
- Practice gratitude. Before you glaze over this one, reconsider. You hear this advice all of the time, so much so that you may be thinking, “Blah, blah, blah, I have heard this before.” But think again. Thankfulness gives us perspective and is very healthful. My eyes still can see, my legs work, I have shelter, I have food to eat, my iPhone works! and on and on and on. Find the good.
- Don’t take things for granted. Now is really a great time to ponder over all the things that you have taken for granted, things even like toilet paper and canned beans. Ruminate over all the things and blessings that you still have. This will help you be more thankful.
- Think of others. I saw yesterday on Next Door that a lady was asking where she could find toilet paper. Some people responded, giving her ideas of stores to try, then one man offered to give her some out of his supply even though he stated that he didn’t have very much, but was willing to share. Impressive! It is very therapeutic to give and meet other people’s needs. Ponder ways of how you can lighten someone else’s load or encourage or bring them cheer. On the flipside, don’t hoard, please. We need to try our best not to be selfish and concerned only about ourselves.
- Remind yourself that you can be strong. When times are tough, borrow this line from me, “I can do hard things; I have done them before.” Then make a list of all the difficult things that you have successfully accomplished so that you can more fully appreciate your achievements and gain strength and resolve remembering.
- Strategize. Take a proactive approach to the pandemic. Use wisdom, take necessary action, and then rest, knowing that you’ve done what you could.
These are definitely strange times, weird times. We don’t know how long this will last or what ultimate impact it will have on us, our loved ones, and even the whole world. But we will get through it, just like the people did during the World War 2 devastation. Take heart and be strong!
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