Mental Health

Self-Care During a Pandemic

Why is self-care important?

The year 2020 has been sobering and challenging to say the least. It has been a season of cancelling or postponing plans, shutting down, and staying home. We have experienced new levels of disruption and uncertainty, with no real timeframe on how long any of it will last.

Jesus knew that self-care is an issue of the greatest importance.  That’s why He regularly took time out to re-fill His pitcher with Living Water. We all have to do the same. It’s only when you allow your cup to be filled that you can fill the cup of others. If you have nothing in your cup, you can’t give anything away.

Caring for Your Body

Eat

Your body needs fuel and proper nutrients in order to function well. While it can be easy to fall into the trap of wanting to eat a ton of junk or spend time cooking all the recipes you have saved on Pinterest because all of your normal activities, plans, or events have been postponed or cancelled; neither is helpful to you. Your body needs regular, healthy meals. Do your best to give your body the fuel it needs.

Exercise

With all the extra time, it is the perfect time to get your body moving. And you don’t have to run a marathon to get your body moving. You can go on a walk, a short run, or even do a workout routine in your living room. If this year has brought on increased stress and anxiety, exercise can be an invaluable tool to help combat racing thoughts and increase your immunity at the same time. Studies also show regular, mild cardiovascular exercise can fend off depression.

Sleep

Having a regular sleep schedule (8-9 hours of sleep), is very important for brain function. Even small things can begin to feel overwhelming if your brain is not functioning well.

Caring for Your Mind

Monitor Your Emotions

God created emotions. Our Heavenly Father experiences emotions and He created us to experience them too. Our emotions are designed to carry useful information that directs us to what we need to attend to.

A good analogy for this is to think about if you were to touch a hot stove.  The pain you would experience from touching the stove would teach you a lesson that would save you from further harm. Pain alerts us to injury that is either happening or has occurred that requires our care and attention. In the same way, emotional pain informs us of present or past hurt and alerts us that care and attention is necessary.

Connect with Others

God created us for connection. With today’s technology there are many ways to stay connected to family and friends. Reach out to your support system. Ask for emotional and practical support when you need it.

Make Space for Yourself

  • Go on a walk
  • Listen to relaxing or uplifting music
  • Go fishing
  • Exercise to upbeat music
  • Read a book
  • Take an online class to learn a new skill or hobby
  • Cook your favorite meal
  • Take a relaxing bath
  • Drink coffee on the porch

Caring for Your Spirit

Find that place, if it is only one hour a week, where you can retreat- become quiet. The objective is to find a place apart from the daily grind where you can get in touch with God and discover who you are within the context of His love. As we go through these uncertain times, take time to notice moments when you experience God’s presence. Try asking yourself, When in the last 24 hours have I sensed, even in the smallest of ways, the truth of Immanuel—God with us? 

Leslie is a licensed professional counselor. She works as a therapist at a marriage intensive retreat center. She is also a foster mom and police wife. Her and her husband live in Missouri with their two teenage sons and three dogs.

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