I wanted to take a pause and share what might be some helpful insights as to when life seems to get overwhelming, how we might be able to remain grounded and centered. It’s true we can find some calm and peace I scriptures as I shared last week in this post, but there are also some very practical things that might be helpful during these days.
Disclaimer: as a Minister, I am in no way, shape or form a professional when it comes to mental health care. However, what I am sharing here is what has worked for me. Please know if you are struggling, please call me and I can help connect you with a healthcare professional to help you.
It is easy during these times when we are under an ‘on-pause’ mode throughout the state, when we are practicing social distancing and need to stay home to help flatten the curve, that we might get cabin fever. Self-care is important when times are challenging and when we face something such as the coronavirus and global pandemic. I wonder how are you caring for yourself these days?
As I mentioned in the disclaimer, I am not expert, but I do know that self-care during times of anxiety are important. And when you are home day in and day out not able to connect with friends and family in person, we can become weary (even introverts who love staying home can get discouraged and down during times like this). It is during this time, that it is even more important to establish a routine as we find ourselves living into a new rhythm.
I have discovered over time that when my rhythm is out of whack, it throws my entire day off and while there is nothing more that I would love to do but to stay in bed, in pj’s and watch movies all day…it’s not necessarily healthy or the best idea. And then there are days where staying up to date on the news seems important, it can be overwhelming, anxiety ridden and exhausting.
Here’s what I know that has helped me that I share with you:
- Routine. We joke about being creatures of habit, but establishing a routine helps us hold some structure when days seem like they might be the same. Maybe it’s making means, waking up at the same time, breakfast, vitamins, etc. what is it that you need to do in the morning, afternoon and evening?
- For me, since my days vary, I have found that the couple hours in the early morning are key to keeping me grounded and centered. Includes time such as enjoying my coffee, quiet moments of reading my daily reading and scripture. Breakfast and my vitamins/supplements. I might also work in some stretches while I’m waiting for my coffee to brew.
- Then I will usually try to clean something (either fold and put away laundry, do dishes or wipe down the bathroom or kitchen), vacuum.
- Hydrate! It is important to drink plenty of water and stay hydrated.
- Exercise! Zeke and I will go for a walk as long as the weather permits. I recently purchased a Fitbit to help keep me moving, so I don’t just sit around all day. Even if it means getting outside for a few minutes to get some fresh air or standing up stretching and walking around.
- Snacking & Meals! It would be very easy for me to snack all day long if I could. But I am trying to keep my meals to three meals a day with one treat…some days it works, and well other days I have to allow myself some grace. 🙂
- Being home all day and alcohol consumption can be a slippery slope, please use with caution and limit your intake while you are home. If you are in recovery, please reach out to your sponsor and find an online support group.
What to do when anxiety begins to rise?
- Some have shared that it helps them to sit with their feet flat on the ground, hands resting in an open position in lap, and breathe, breathe in slowly and hold, exhale and hold.
- Others will call a friend (or their pastor) and just talk, laugh and know it’s even ok to cry.
- Maybe turn of the news off, turn some music on.
- While it is important to me that I stay updated and connected, I also know that having the news on 24/7 is not healthy. I stay connected and updated through online sources and podcasts, I find that after extensive updates, I need to turn on some music and reset my brain.
- Pick 2-3 favorite Bible verses, write them on notecards and put them in places around the house (kitchen sink, bathroom mirror, living room or bedroom). To see and read when you use these. Allow these to serve as reminders of God’s presence, strength and an invitation to pray.
- Finally, I share these steps that I know some have found helpful. That once you catch your breath, and find your breathing has started to slow, you can try the 5-4-3-2-1 approach. (These are on many sites, but these specific ones come from https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/behavioral-health-partners/bhp-blog/april-2018/5-4-3-2-1-coping-technique-for-anxiety.aspx)
- Acknowledge FIVE things you see around you. It could be a pen, a spot on the ceiling, anything in your surroundings.
- Acknowledge FOUR things you can touch around you. It could be your hair, a pillow, or the ground under your feet.
- Acknowledge THREE things you hear. This could be any external sound. If you can hear your belly rumbling that counts! Focus on things you can hear outside of your body.
- Acknowledge TWO things you can smell. Maybe you are in your office and smell pencil, or maybe you are in your bedroom and smell a pillow. If you need to take a brief walk to find a scent you could smell soap in your bathroom, or nature outside.
- Acknowledge ONE thing you can taste. What does the inside of your mouth taste like—gum, coffee, or the sandwich from lunch
Finally, someone shared this image on social media… these are great questions for us to ask ourselves as we find ourselves staying home and on pause:
If you’re still reading, know that you are being prayed for. Know that you are doing ok. Know that you are not alone in this. We will be ok.
Peace of Christ be with you today and always.