Emotional & Spiritual Support
If you are in need of immediate care or this is an emergency situation, please call 911.
If you need help, we would like to be a resource for you. A powerful place to start is with our nine tips listed below on how to take care of yourself. If you would like to contact us for additional help, or if you have any additional questions, please use the form below and someone will contact you during the week.
Keep Perspective: Focus on the Big Picture...God’s Picture
Taking a narrow view of the events unfolding around you can create a strong reaction and trigger your fight/flight response. Your thoughts can easily turn to anxiety-inducing “what if” statements. The danger of the “what if” statement is that it’s often not true, yet it has the power to set off a chain reaction of negative thoughts that lead you into a downward spiral.
For example, you may start thinking, what if COVID-19 has a permanent effect on the economy? Next, you may ask what if businesses are affected? This might lead you to ask what if I lose my job? Followed by, what if I lose my house?
It’s essential to gain control of those “what if” statements since they are typically negative and can often lead to a state of hysteria. Avoid “what if” statements, take a step back to look at the bigger picture, and focus on the present moment.
Focus things that are happening right now eliminating the “what if” and replacing it with “today.”
Examples might be:
“Today the sun is shining.”
“Today I am keeping myself safe.”
“Today I can……”
One of the facts that we know as followers of Christ is that God is with us and loves us deeply. This does not mean that we are free from difficulty in this world, but God is with us and loves us through difficult times.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and future. (Jeremiah 29:11)
Give thanks in all circumstances for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
Focus on what you can control…. Give God the Rest!
When we feel like things are getting out of control, we will often try to create a rationale for our fear. It helps us to regain a sense of control – this will not help us. We want to blame people or groups for causing the situation or for not doing enough etc. This certainly leads to anger and increases bitterness. It gives us a temporary inner sense of control when we are feeling vulnerable. In the long run it causes more harm to your inner self, and it can come out in ways that hurts others. Information and facts will help you take precautions that can give you back a sense of power; however, two things are important here:
Limit how much and where you get information. We are bombarded daily with information from many sources about Covid-19. Limit the time you spend and be wary of the sources of your information. The CDC has great factual information about how to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. The Mental Health Innovation Network has information that summarizes key mental health and psychosocial support considerations for the COVID-19 outbreak.
Make time each day to bring focus to other things that are happening in your life and to what you can do today. “What projects have I wanted to get to?” “What can I do to keep safe today?” “What can I do today to reach out and help someone else?”
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Romans 12:2)
Finally, brothers and sisters, 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. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. (1 Thessalonians 5:8)
Adopt a mindset that minimizes fear…and promotes Faith
Strive to establish a mindset that knows the difference between your fears and worries and the real facts. Remember that our fearful thoughts do not make them true. It’s okay to have concerns that this crisis may impact the way you live today and over the next few months, but it’s detrimental to predict your worst fears and live them today. Stay in the facts of today and as a follower of Christ focus on the promises God gives us.
He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. (Deuteronomy 31:8)
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge —that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3:17-21)
Do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? (Luke 12:22-26)
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)
Develop a New Routine...and Have a Flexible Game Plan
Seek out the familiar things that have not changed in your life as a way to anchor you in turbulent times. Aim to maintain your regular routines and activities where possible and if needed create a new routine. And, try to adopt a flexible approach that allows you to shift your plan daily as needed. It’s about being flexible in a factual and realistic frame as opposed to looking at the world in a fearful way.
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline."(2 Timothy 1:7)
Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. (Philippians 4:11-12)
Find Ways to Laugh
In this period of time when things are fearful and stressful it is important to find time to laugh and find joy. Think about it as a vacation, a diversion from the fear and stress. Here are some of the short-term and long-term physical and psychological benefits of laughter--benefits God built into us.
When you start to laugh, it doesn't just lighten your load mentally, it actually induces physical changes in your body. Laughter can:
Stimulate many organs. Laughter enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles, and increases the endorphins that are released by your brain.
Activate and relieve your stress response. A rollicking laugh fires up and then cools down your stress response, and it can increase and then decrease your heart rate and blood pressure. The result? A good, relaxed feeling.
Soothe tension. Laughter can also stimulate circulation and aid muscle relaxation, both of which can help reduce some of the physical symptoms of stress.
Laughter isn't just a quick pick-me-up, though. It's also good for you over the long term. Laughter may:
Improve your immune system.
Relieve pain. It causes the body to produce its own natural painkillers.
Increase personal satisfaction. Gets us thinking differently about our situation.
Improve your mood. Inducing laughter decreases negative emotions.
He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. (Job 8:21)
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens...a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance (Ecclesiastes 3:1,4)
A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. (Proverbs 17:22)
Practice Compassion...for Self and Others
During this time, it is easy to get down on yourself or to become so focused on self. It is normal to have periods where you have a flood of emotions. It is also easy to criticize or judge others as being wrong or less prepared or not strong enough. During this time, it is so important to validate that this is a stressful time for everyone in some way or another and all in different ways. Acknowledge your own stresses and those of others. Adopt the mindset that everyone is doing the best they can in this moment and may need help to cope better. Radically accepting the place you are in AND accepting where others are can increase a compassionate response to yourself and others. As followers of Christ we know that it is not about our efforts our deeds our money or our worldly status. God loves us all and has great compassion for us.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is love your neighbor as yourself. (Matthew 22:37-39)
Stay in touch. Just because we cannot see family and friends in person doesn’t mean we should disconnect. Call or text; video-chat a friend you haven’t seen in a while. Message someone via social media that inspires you in your network. There are also many online game and streaming platforms popping up to pull us out of complete isolation. It's imperative to seek out community and social connections during this time. Sit outside on a nice day with at least six feet between you to have some “in person time”.
For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I with them. (Matthew 18:20)
Take Care of your Body
During times of stress we sometimes forget about those basic things to help us take care of ourselves physically. Make sure that you continue or start the following practices.
Eat nutritious meals well balanced meals
Exercise regularly to your ability.
Keep potentially unhealthy eating habits to a minimum.
Highly caloric snacking
Get healthy amount of sleep. Too much or too little can both create problems.
Take medication as prescribed.
Reach out to medical professionals if you become ill.
If you are experiencing a high degree of fear or worry you can use some things that will help reduce that worry that involve your body.
Breathe: Pace your breath. Breathe in gently for a count of 4 and then release the breath to the count of 7 or 8. Figure out your rhythm and then stay in rhythm.
Move your body: Get your heart rate up for at least 5-10 minutes and then practice relaxing.
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, who you have received from God. You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
Find a Purpose or Sense of Accomplishment.
Since this period of time is limiting the productive things that you can do in many cases, work to find something that gives you a sense of accomplishment or purpose. It is important to keep our brains and bodies active. Is there something that you have been putting off because you are so busy? Is there something you have always wanted to learn or get better at? Maybe a hobby that you have not been spending much time on? This could be something that can contribute to providing help with this current crisis or a project that will bring you closer to Christ.
For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and future. (Jeremiah 29:11)
The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters but one who has insight draws them out. (Proverbs 20:5)
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him who have been called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)
Crying, bursts of anger, changes in appetite, losing interest or ability to concentrate, difficulties sleeping, feeling hopeless, and avoiding friends and loved ones for several days or weeks may be signs that you or a loved one isn’t coping well. If these signs of distress are present, or if you or someone you know have some physical needs, please reach out in the form below.
Fill out this form or call (262) 421-5930 and leave a message with your name and best phone number to reach you.
Someone from Friedens Church will contact you as soon as we are able.