By Grace Sandeno, Director of Public Health Initiatives
Battle back against isolation and stress!
Here are some practical suggestions for making our current isolation less isolating:
- Whether you are alone or “isolated” in a house of seven, as I am, reach out to people not in your house. Other people need a hug, even if it is a virtual one.
- Learn some new “tricks.” I admit to being an “old-timer” when it comes to technology. But, as it turns out, you CAN teach an old dog new tricks. I’ve messed up technology stuff a number of times, but I HAVE also been able to work with my prayer partners to establish virtual prayer dates. And the coffee at home is way cheaper. (As a side note, if you need technical help, ask a friend. I’ve been able to help a co-worker set up two monitors and another figure out how to use Zoom. Most people have a lot more time on their hands these days, so put down your pride and ask for help. Being able to help you may be the encouragement that THEY need today.)
- Spend the time you used to commute to your job reading your Bible and praying. Found moments are golden. Use them well.
- Recognize that everyone will experience COVID-19 isolation differently. Show grace and pray for those who are having a hard time. It’s not up to me to “fix” things – only God can do that. But I can listen, pray, and be an encouragement by my virtual presence.
- Write more letters. Remember those things that you use a pen and paper for? How fun would it be for someone else to be encouraged by one of those! Even an email can bring a smile.
- Be on the offense, not the defense. That is not saying we should be offensive, but rather that we should look for ways to use the situation to our advantage. I am very grateful to have all my kids home again. I didn’t think that would ever happen. I intend to make memories and take pictures.
- Turn off the news! Nothing can take away your joy as fast as watching the news. Remember that good news (acts of kindness, the love between friends and neighbors, or the GOOD News about Jesus) rarely make the headlines. So turn off the TV, computer, and news feed on your phone and focus on “…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8 New International Version (NIV)
- Last, reach out to others. (Yeah, I know I already said this.) This journey was not meant to be traveled alone. I think you will find that reaching out will help you manage your stress and isolation.