3 Ways to Persevering During A Pandemic
By Andrea Parson
Rejoice always, pray continually, and give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
We are living in an unknown time, and a time that our grandkids will study in their history classes one day. Through this season, it seems there is much fear and anxiety filling the minds of adults and kids. Not knowing what to expect next adds to the feeling of being overwhelmed.
But we have good news-the best news actually. There is hope and we don’t have to be afraid! We have the power to overcome the fear that fills our minds and help others do the same! Taking care of ourselves mentally, physically, and spiritually is very important: below are some tips from Thessalonians to do just that.
What exactly does this look like and how does it help us? Rejoicing means to be glad and take delight. How do we do that during this time? What brings you joy or what do you take delight in?
Each day, as part of your self-care regimen, it is important that you take time to find joy. (And yes, sometimes we have to intentionally look for it.) Maybe your intentional moment of delight could be something as simple as drinking a cup of your favorite coffee, watching the sunrise or sunset, taking a walk, listening to your favorite songs, exercising, or talking and connecting with friends and family members. Whatever it is, take time to do it. It is important.
Joy is not something we need to keep all to ourselves—we need to share our joy with everyone! We can do this through using kind words and acts. Think about any essential trips you make throughout the week. Could any of those workers use a little joy right now? Can you think of someone else you come in contact with that could use some extra joy? Do you have a student who could use some joy? Speak life into others. Maybe God is sending YOU to be His light today and share His joy!
Just a couple of weeks ago, a small group of Christian Educators in our school district shared joy in our community by going to sing hymns outside the nursing home windows to the residents and workers. We took a banjo, a guitar, and some favorite song selections. We went around the entire building, singing praises to our King! When we finished, we were asked to lay hands on their building and pray for their protection, for the residents and the entire staff. It was such a powerful moment! During this pandemic, we have also delivered hot meals, bags of groceries, and participated in home visits to deliver toys to our kids at school. It has been a true blessing to us and just a small way we could spread joy!
Taking time each day to pray and meditate is so important to our mental and spiritual health, which ultimately impacts our physical health. Our prayer time can happen any time throughout the day. Since many of us are working from home right now, we can pray as we complete household tasks. We can even pray while we are washing our hands for 20 seconds, multiple times throughout the day! Sometimes it is nice to write our prayers down on paper, instead of just speaking them. In our written prayers, we can include inspiring scriptures and even post them in places where we will see them often. Our prayers we post can be like daily affirmations and help us keep a positive mindset, which is important during difficult and trying seasons.
Recently, I downloaded a mediation app and use it throughout the day as a grounding technique if I’m feeling overwhelmed. (Grounding is a coping technique used to help a person connect with the current moment and not focusing on what is making you feel anxious.) Meditation can also help us take a needed brain break and provide us better focus—just take a moment (two minutes does wonders) to breathe deep and clear our minds. Psalm 46:10 instructs us to be still and know God. Give it a try if you haven’t already!
Find reasons every day to be thankful. Whether in a journal or on your phone, take time to write down something you are thankful for in your life every single day. Gratitude is an important self-care tip because it changes your perception of your circumstances. You can also practice gratitude verbally with a friend or family member, like an accountability partner. Make a point to share what you are thankful for each day. I personally do this in my planner- it really provides a positive boost on those difficult days, to be able to go back and see that I have so many blessings and to know that our difficult situations will pass—they will not last forever. We also practice daily gratitude as a family. Each night before we go to bed, we share a good thing that happened that day. It is so precious to hear what each person is thankful for and helps us connect to each other on a deeper level. Finding the good and sharing our gratitude is a great reminder that although we live in a season full of unknowns, we can still find the good if we look for it and we can have joy in it.
We have a choice in how we live through this season. Find the good, share joy, pray continually, and give thanks. We may feel anxiety and fear creeping in, but we have the choice in how that fear impacts our lives and those around us. Now more than ever, we need to take care of ourselves mentally, physically, and spiritually, and if you need to talk to someone, please reach out.
Andrea Parson is an Elementary School Counselor and has served in public education for fifteen years. She was a 2009 Mickelson Exxon Mobil National Educator and a Kentucky Teacher of the Year nominee in 2012 and 2013. Her passion for outreach and helping children has taken her around the globe, serving all over the United States and Africa.