Change…. It can be challenging under the best of circumstances, but can become downright stressful when it’s been thrust upon us as quickly as things have changed over the last week. It’s hard to know where to start or what you can do when so much is out of our control. Getting back to the basics of praying often, eating well & moving more are among the best things we can do to help us bounce back from most anything life throws our way.
Finally, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.Philippians 4:8
I find it’s important to understand the facts of any situation, what is true. Understanding the whys behind any action diffuses much of the negative charge related to the issue. We don’t like these restrictions because God designed us as social beings, to be connected to him and one another. One of the biggest underlying fears we have is fear of rejection or isolation. That’s why solitary confinement is used as a punishment. Unfortunately, it’s also the best way to prevent person-to-person transmission of an infectious disease like flu, colds, and COVID-19.
However, not all is lost. If we look at the rest of that verse, we are asked to look for the positives, look for solutions. One bright note is we are more connected now than ever before. The internet and telephone make it easy to stay connected with family & friends right now. And I suggest we use them to our advantage and look for the opportunities that lie before us.
This is the perfect time to connect to God. To really embrace the fact we are never, truly alone and that he always provides. He is always there, we just need to turn around and rest in his open arms. In Matthew 6:25-34, Jesus tells us to put God #1 in our lives and everything else will fall into place.
How many times do you notice God saying “Hi!” to you throughout the day? In the sunrise, the birds singing, the sparkles on everything with a heavy frost, crocus & daffodils popping up, someone else smiling at you or sending you a smiley face text? By taking a moment to thank him, God showers his peace on us in that moment, boosting our immune system and leaving us in a better frame of mind to come up with creative solutions as well as make better choices.
Don’t be afraid to spend some extra time looking for God. In scripture, daily mass readings, rosary or other rote prayers, meditating or just thinking about him cradling you like the beloved, precious, cherished child you are. See him popping up as the grass greens and trees bud. Take some time to journal, call a friend or family member, pray as a family, send a fun email to someone you know is self-isolating. Don’t be afraid to say, “Thank you, Lord,” “Help me, Lord,” or “I love you, Lord,” several times a day.
While feeding our spirit with God’s goodness is important, our bodies also need physical food. One of the best things we can do is to fuel our body according to God’s design by eating lots of colorful veggies & fruit! It not only boosts our immune system, it also helps balance our hormones which in turn balances mood & emotions.
Regardless if you eat meat or not, most authorities agree we all need more color on our plates (and not Fruit Loops, Skittles or M&M’s). These are the foods that help us thrive! How about trying to eat 5-6 cups of colorful vegetables a day? (Corn & white potatoes don’t count). You’d increase your chances of staying healthy as well as be in a better place mentally to come up with creative solutions to the dilemmas you may be facing.
Some people think it’s so hard to do, but I find cooking and eating a whole package of frozen green beans with 1/2 an onion and some meat for lunch is very satisfying! For supper, it’s a package of frozen veggies roasted or stir fried with 1/3 – 1/2 lb of meat for each my husband & me. Most nights I save room for a small baked sweet potato (sprinkled with cinnamon & cardamom) as dessert. YUM!
Body movement has been touted as one of the best things one can do to decrease depression, anxiety, blood pressure, risk of heart disease, stroke, cholesterol, diabetes, etc. It also boosts our immune system and our creativity, putting us in a better frame of mind to be resourceful and come up with more solutions. Our cells all need oxygen and nutrients. The best way to get them where they need to go is to get the blood pumping by moving our body!
When my kids were still at home, there were days I’d come home irritable after a stressful day at work. I noticed my need to walk or do a workout video to let go of work stress and be a happier wife & mom at home. My family also saw the difference it made, respected this need and gave me space to take this time for myself.
So find a way to move your body every day (or at least most days). On nice days, get outside in your yard or on the trail (keeping in mind social distancing and staying home if you’re not feeling well) or clean your house. YouTube is an awesome resource for free videos, yoga, qi-gong, aerobics, pilates, strength training, and on & on. Leslie Sansone even has some 1-2 mile at-home walks on there. You may even find a few people you like well enough to subscribe & pay for access to more resources they have. And there’s always living room dancing!
Of course with all of this, I find many forms of journaling to be helpful. Putting the pen to the paper and seeing things in black and white is so helpful to focus on what is true, what you can do and figuring out how to move forward. If you don’t have a copy of my free Journaling Guide, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org & I’ll get one out to you.
Are you spotting a common theme, here. I know I sound redundant, but praying often, eating well & moving more really boosts the immune system, calms the nerves and kick starts the creative process. In no way am I discounting the upheaval that’s going on right now. People are really hurting, but there are things we can do.
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.Serenity Prayer
I find the Serenity Prayer helpful in times like this. There are some things we can’t do a darned thing about, but there are things we can do. Especially with Spring here and warmer weather coming, we can choose to see God saying “Hi!” all around us, we can choose to eat more fresh vegetables & fruits, we can choose to move our bodies more. And we can choose to use these tactics to not only help ourselves, but be a blessing to others as well.