We live in an interesting world. Many years ago, when things would happen somewhere on the other side of the world or in a different part of the country, the news would take a long time to reach you.
Today, news gets spread with lighting speed. Hours and sometimes minutes after something occurs, it’s already blasted across social media and the internet. We are bombarded with all kinds of messages every single minute that we are plugged in to anything.
With the coronavirus being the #1 thing talked about recently, we see the ramifications of these messages all around us – fear, panic, confusion. Stores are being wiped out of inventory, schools and major events are closing, many plans are forced to be changed. We are taking precautions to keep the spread of the virus contained, but it’s also causing so much turmoil and alarm.
Social media is a powerful tool. It can spread helpful information, hope and peace or stress, fear and chaos. It can cause you to overreact and feel overwhelmed. Preparing for a crisis can be scary when you don’t know what to expect and when it seems like the whole world is going crazy around you.
I am not going to talk about the virus, give you my personal opinion or expert advice because #1 I am not an expert and #2 You already have too much information about it.
I have lived through many years when my personal life was in crisis mode and have learned so much during those times. That’s why I wanted to share some of the things that have been helpful for me to have a sense of peace and sanity in the midst of some very real and devastating challenges.
I really want to come alongside you, many of whom are scared, worried and feel like your hands are tied. Here are some things that you can do to help you stay calm and have a sense of control.
Don’t Feed Your Fears
Being informed doesn’t mean that you need to spend hours watching the news, scrolling through social media, reading what everyone with an opinion has to say about what’s going on.
Choose your sources wisely, definitely don’t believe everything you hear and be wise in what you allow to be guiding your mind these days.
Is this information giving you clarity and helping you to take rational action steps or is it causing you to become more anxious, fearful and is paralyzing your life?
What you “feed” and “water” is what will grow in your life. If you constantly dine on a diet of negative and doomsday news, hyped up hysterical social media and surround yourself with negative people who talk about conspiracy theories and that the world is coming to an end, this will grow panic and fear in you.
Turn off your phone and tv and tune in to the things and the people who have a calming and positive effect on you.
Do the Next Right Thing
In times of uncertainty, focus on what’s right in front of you, the things that need your attention. Take it one day at a time and one task at a time. You don’t need to have all the answers and a plan for the next few weeks.
Feed your children, take care of your family, take care of your home, do the things that still need to be done. Laundry, meals, bedtimes, cleaning don’t get canceled when times are hard. In fact, since we are all staying home more, children aren’t in school and many are working from home, all these tasks may be multiplied.
Focusing on the mundane and necessary parts of life can sometimes be therapeutic when times are hard. They certainly give you something to do. You may not be able to solve all the world’s problems, but you sure can make sure your family has clean clothes to wear and have meals to eat.
This also applies to more difficult choices that you need to make – should you cancel your travel plans, what should you spend your money on? One thing at a time, one decision at a time. What often happens is we get paralyzed when we feel overwhelmed and then everything is dropped. It doesn’t fix anything, it doesn’t help you feel better and things around you are even more chaotic.
Keep Your Sense of Humor and Focus on the Joyful Moments in Your Life
It’s so important not to get 100% consumed by all the negative circumstances in your life. When you’re going through tough things, everything else takes a backseat and you have tunnel vision – all you see is the looming nightmare right in front of you.
It may be even more important than ever to have a sense of humor, laugh, find joy in different moments of your day and focus on the things in your life that are good, perfect and wonderful.
How are we going to handle the circumstances that we are living in right now? Our children will remember this time based on how we react in our families and how they see us talking and acting. You are their gauge on the world and most certainly influence the way they will live through the quarantine. Will they be worried and scared or come out of this stronger and in control?
Let’s continue to smile, be gracious to the people around us, and use this time when schools are canceled and we are staying closer to home as a time to connect with our family and spend some awesome quality time as a family.
Distract Yourself With Activities That Calm You, Give You Focus and Make You Happy
Instead of spending hours watching the news and mindlessly scrolling through the internet, now is the perfect time to get some projects done that you haven’t had time for before or have been putting off. Declutter your house, have fun trying new recipes or more time consuming meals if you enjoy cooking, organize the photos on your phone and computer, create photo books, scrapbooks or albums, plant a garden (depending on where you live), organize your house, deep clean, etc.
This was supposed to be Spring Break for my son’s school, so I was really looking forward to doing some fun things as a family. It may get extended and I am just fine with that:). You can have a staycation right in your house! Watch movies, have game nights, try new recipes, have picnics in your living room and maybe start a real aloud book as a family.
No, it’s not necessary to be shut in 100% indoors unless you have some preexisting health conditions. As long as you’re not going to hugely populated areas, it’s great to go outside and get some sunshine. (I’m extra grateful that we live in Florida right now).
Practice Humanity, Kindness and Decency
Just because things are uncertain doesn’t give us an excuse for being rude, mean and obnoxious. Yes, we should have grace for people all around us because so many are on edge, worried, and fearful. Let’s also be polite, gracious and calm ourselves when we do go out for gas, groceries or for those of us who are still working.
My heart goes out to the people who are drastically affected by this. Besides the people who need to be worried about their health or have family members at risk and the medical community dealing with this virus, there are so many other consequences to this huge world wide pandemic. There are so many people who are not prepared financially for something like this and many people will lose money for trips they paid for, plane tickets, hotels, etc., that have had to be canceled or postponed. Many businesses are forced to close their doors and will lose money. Many employees will not have jobs for this time period and this is a huge deal if you were already living paycheck to paycheck. Let’s extend a little grace and show patience and kindness to everyone around us.
I love that in the midst of mass hysteria, there are also so many stories of wonderful human beings that are selfless, kind and encouraging throughout this time too. Let’s look for ways that we can be a positive influence in the world.
As a Christian, I put my trust in God. He has taken our family through some really dark seasons and I know He is faithful no matter we we may face. He has so many promises to be with us, to give us peace and to be beside always.
I would love to support you as and encourage you as much as I can. I will continue sharing recipes and kitchen tips but is there anything else that you would find helpful or distracting from the scary things all around us?
Would you like me to share work from home tips, activities to keep your children occupied at home and/or small home projects?