Our country reported its first case of COVID-19 on January 20. I would have never expected our country to be where we are today after only two short months. For most of us, we are operating under a new normal.
Absolutely everyone is touched by this pandemic right now. Not only in our country, but the world. From the smallest child who misses her grandma’s visits to the high school and college students who find themselves at home instead of finishing out their school year to some of the oldest among us who can’t see their families due to lockdown in assisted living facilities. And, everyone in between. Not too mention ALL the ways jobs have changed.
Our family is no exception. The first couple of weeks were stressful. We were all home together with schools closed and with my husband working from home. We have a very sad high school senior that is missing his friends and his last baseball season. Another whose new job was put on hold. And, all my usual weekly commitments cancelled and my outings with my mom relegated to dropping groceries at her door.
It has taken me two weeks to figure out how to maintain sanity during this pandemic….when life is a new normal. Honestly, I have had a hard time focusing. Struggling with all kinds of emotions. It wasn’t until yesterday that I realized I was beginning to come out of a funk. As I pondered the change. I jotted down these ten tips that have tremendously helped me. And, most of them are absolutely free. So, no matter where you find yourself in the middle of this craziness, I hope these tips will bring a little joy and peace, a little rest and refuge to your world as well.
Here you go…My Top Ten Tips for Sanity in a Pandemic (or anytime really)
1. Think on Truth
If you know me at all, or have read any of my blogs, you have heard me say time and time again to Think on Truth. It is the absolute first step to developing a foundation of trust and combatting our fears, worries, doubts, and a whole host of other emotions.
Take 15 minutes to get into God’s word. Every. Single. Day. Read His promises for your life. He loves you (John 3:16, Jeremiah 31:3). He will never leave you (Deuteronomy 31:6). He is your provider. (Philippians 4:19)
His word is a “lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.” Or “paw” in the case of Koba this morning as he joined me for quiet time. Y’all this dog! 😊
2. Talk to God and Others
Take some time to pray to God. Really talk to God. “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7) COVID-19 did not surprise God. Nothing does. Not even how we feel or what we think. Just go to the Psalms. David poured his heart out over and over again to God. Meditate on His word. Psalm 1 promises that we will be like a tree planted by streams of water – bearing fruit in every season – never fainting or withered.
Take some time to talk to others. Text, call, Zoom, or Marco Polo friends and family. Share how you are feeling. Don’t become completely cut off from others. We all need each other right now more than ever. If I can figure out Zoom, anyone can! My birthday club, a group of friends that have been meeting for the last 16 years for our birthdays, shared our very first zoom gathering this past week. It was fun to get to connect in a new way.
“Sweet friendships refresh the soul and awaken our hearts with joy, for good friends are like the anointing oil that yields the fragrant incense of God’s presence.” Psalm 27:9 TPT
Check on your neighbor or your aging relative. Take some time together with those in your home to talk, watch a funny movie and laugh together, play a game or eat nachos. My husband and I packed a picnic and climbed a hill near our home for a date night. Beautiful view. Change of scenery. Good food and company.
Watch online worship services and messages from your church. If you don’t have a church, listen to Passion City or Elevation or there are hundreds of others available. Listen to uplifting podcasts and music. I love to listen to worship music and happy music like Ben Rector. It changes my spirit after only a few verses. Here are a few of my songs on repeat.
“Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.” Colossians 3:16 NIV
4. Tea Time
Grab a favorite beverage and sit outside and enjoy God’s creation. Listen to the birds singing. Watch the clouds move across the sky. Maybe it isn’t warm in your area just yet. Grab a blanket and wrap up. Use that fire pit. Take some deep breaths.
“All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.” John 1:3 KJV
“This is what God the Lord says – the Creator of the heavens, who stretches them out,
who spreads out the earth with all that springs from it, who gives breath to its people, and life to those who walk on it.” Isaiah 42:5 NIV
“Let heaven celebrate! Let the earth rejoice!
Let the sea and everything in it roar!
Let the countryside and everything in it celebrate!
Then all the trees of the forest too
will shout out joyfully.”
5. Tackle a project
Take advantage of the extra time in your schedule to finish up a project or start something you have been putting off for a while. We steam-cleaned our carpets last week and deep cleaned our boys’ (young men’s) rooms. Haven’t really been in there in awhile. It’s kinda like David battling Goliath…ok that may be a little dramatic, but scary nevertheless. Haha!
My oldest son is tackling his autocross car to race this summer. He even let me drive it!
6. Take a walk
We are doing a lot of extra sitting with gyms and sports activities being closed. Get some exercise outdoors. Drag someone out of your house with you. Go walk, run, bike. You can social distance far better outside. One of the positives coming from COVID-19 is that I have never seen so many people outside in my life. However, I am pretty sure my dog, Koba, and all his doggie friends will be so glad when everyone returns to work and school because he is exhausted from all the walks.
7. Tap out
Get some extra rest. Go to bed early or take a nap with no guilt. Keep your body healthy by getting that extra rest you have always wanted time to do. It’s really ok people….God tells us to do just that! It’s a commandment!
“There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his.” Hebrews 4:9-10 NIV
Like I said, even our furry friends need a rest….
8. Take a break
The news and social media can really drain you and fill you with fear. Take a break from it. Don’t spend your day scrolling news and social media feeds. Find a trusted source for info and check in with it once per day. I listen to our county mayor daily. He presents the facts. He is wise and practical, updating us from a county level on up. It keeps me informed without fueling fear. Our minds do not need to dwell 24/7 on COVD-19.
Be informed. Pray for the world. Practice social distancing and hand washing. But, don’t allow yourself to be constantly bombarded by all the things that you can’t control.
Do what you can do in your little piece of the world. Take it one day at a time. Walking it out with one foot in front of the other.
“Do not worry about tomorrow.” Matthew 6:34
“Give us today our daily bread.” Matthew 6:11
9.Try something new
Maybe it is time to start that new hobby, open that new puzzle, or learn a new game. Maybe you want to get started putting that book together, learning a new song, or working on a certification. There is no better time than now.
Finally, begin and end each day with thanksgiving. List 3 things that you can be thankful for each morning and evening. Although some really big things have been cancelled, suspended or changed in some way, there are a thousand other blessings in each of our lives.
“For out of His fullness (abundance) we have all received [all had a share and we were all supplied with] one grace after another and spiritual blessing upon spiritual blessing and even favor upon favor and gift [heaped] upon gift.” John 1:16 AMPC
“Let them praise the Lord for his great love and for the wonderful things he has done for them. For he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.” Psalm 106:8-9 NLT
In the days ahead…
“May the Lord bless you
and protect you.
May the Lord smile on you
and be gracious to you.”
Take a few minutes to listen to The Blessing by Kari Jobe and Cody Carnes HERE.
If you have a tip to share that has helped you and your family get through this difficult time, please share in comments!