Are you at the point that you’ve absolutely had enough of the news about the pandemic? Are you feeling challenged and stressed by the constant talk of the invisible enemy that appears to slay some and merely maim others? Are the restrictions in your daily freedom beginning to feel oppressive?
If you are have answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, please believe that you are not alone at this time. You, along with millions of people, are experiencing some of the stress and anxiety, not matter how mild, that comes with a world-wide pandemic.
And, the challenges of the pandemic have affected almost every country in the world. It is no ‘respecter of persons’. Although the scientists state that its physical affects on children and young people are milder than on adults, the secondary effects of closed schools for six months, and university students locked in their rooms attending online classes are highly frustrating and some believe damaging to their socialisation.
On the other end of the scale, many senior members of our society have only recently emerged from an enforced hibernation as they were invited to ‘shield’ by their governments. Many have felt that they were ‘under house arrest’ as they were at the mercy of family and friends to provide for their daily needs.
And those ‘in-betweeners’ have battled with furlough, the job retention scheme, redundancies, social distancing, a rise in domestic violence and the ‘new normal’. Many have work tirelessly on the frontlines, spent hours volunteering and have cared and buried loved ones who have been victims of the virus. Remote working has graduated from been for the elite to the preferred way of working for the foreseeable future.
Everyone has had some challenge with this pandemic. Watch ADRA CEO, Bert Smit, speak openly and honestly about some of the mental health issues that he has faced during lockdown, https://youtu.be/As9-sPCVd1o
So, what can we do practically to cope with the many challenges that we face? Have a listen to Joanna, a mental health expert, talk about practical ways in which you can cope at this time https://adra.org.uk/urban/podcasts/ (podcast goes live on the 10th October)
As a faith-based community, would else can you do on 2020 World Mental Health Day and beyond to ensure that we reduce the effects of stress and anxiety? Of course, there are numerous scriptures that encourage us to ‘don’t be anxious for anything’ or ‘cast your care on Him for He cares for you’ or trust in the Lord with you all heart’. These scriptures provide much comfort, support and calm. They give us the assurance that God is a ‘very present help in times of trouble’.
But for us to really appreciate the spiritual benefits that we can gain from we need to ‘be still’ or in the words of Psalm 46:10 (The Message) ‘Step out of the traffic! Take a long loving look at me, your High God, above politics, above everything’.
Why not take some time out everyday, say 6pm every day for stillness with God - Stillness@6. Stop whatever you are doing. Create space so that you can really focus on this time with the Father. Spend at least 15 minutes away from all distractions. Be consistent. Do this everyday and ‘let God change the way that you think’ - Romans 12: 2 (CEV).