It’s normal to experience a range of emotions – from fear to anger, worry to anxiety. But in every situation God wants us to remain steadfast in our faith, mentally strong and emotionally stable.
Here are 10 tips for looking after your mental health that will help you (and I) stay grounded and resilient during this turbulent time of unpredictability.
1. Let Go of the Things You Can’t Control
It’s vital that we hold loosely the things we can’t control and focus on the things we actually can – like our attitude, our outlook and what we choose to focus on. We may not have control over the economic state of our country, our job situation, but we can choose to press into His presence, speak faith over fear and make our homes a place of peace. Stop focusing on the things you can’t regulate and give attention to the things you can.
2. Maintain Perspective
While it’s normal to have questions and concerns about what the future holds, it’s important to see beyond our present situation. We may feel blindsided, but God hasn’t been. He sees the end from the beginning while we’re stuck in the middle.
As Christians, we need to cling tightly to Romans 8:28 “And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose.”
Whatever we’re going through right now is not permanent. One day things will go back to normal, albeit a new type of normal, but nonetheless we will re-emerge having grown in stamina and perseverance. And don’t just look at it from a temporary perspective but see it though a heavenly lens. We know that this life is but a mist, here today gone tomorrow. Let’s endeavour to keep eternity in view.
3. Eat Well, Drink Water
What you eat undoubtedly has an effect on your emotions and can make you feel lethargic, sluggish or even sick. As much as you can, eat nutritious healthy meals and do your best to avoid too much junk food. It’s a good idea to steer clear of sugary drinks and excessive caffeine and keep your fluids up by drinking lots of water. According to Dr Chris Beer, ‘water is the most important nutrient that our bodies need and is involved in almost every bodily function.’
4. Stay Healthy, Get Active
As much as possible stay active, and exercise. Exercise has so many positive effects, from improving your energy levels to releasing a flood of feel good chemicals from your brain to your body. Exercise has also shown to improve your mood and decrease feelings of depression and stress. Honestly, I’m not super fit but I’ve been making the effort to work out at home (or go for a slow walk with my kids ha) at least once a day.
5. Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is another commodity you don’t want to go without. Sleep is vital for good health yet so many of us try and run on as little as possible. Don’t stay up all night surfing YouTube, you’ll end up exhausted and groggy the next day. Good sleep is essential, but don’t just sleep – rest. You may be surprised but the two are very different. Rest and recovery involve not just stopping physically but giving your mind time to slow down, repair and recuperate.
Another great tip is get out in the fresh air and sunshine. Even if that means sitting in your backyard or walking out on your balcony. There are numerous health benefits associated with sun exposure including boosting vitamin D levels, enhancing mood and energy, setting your body block and improving your sleep patterns.
6. Stay Connected
It’s so important that we stay connected. We need to be intentional about keeping in touch. That may include zoom calls, WhatsApp video chats or Facebook watch parties. Find people you love and lean into them for support.
Talking about your feelings and processing your thoughts will help bring a sense of perspective and stability. And don’t just vent, pray!! Remember staying in touch also includes being present with those right in front of you. For at least a few hours a day be fully focused on those around you.
7. Unplug from Digital Devices
Technology is an incredible tool to help us stay in touch, but the way in which we use it and for how long is definitely important. It’s vital to set limits on how long you spend on your phone or computer. Scrolling social media all day non-stop may actually do more damage than good. Learn to switch off and unplug.
If you’re feeling tired (yet wired) at night you may be suffering from overstimulation. This simply means your senses are on overload and your body and your mind will eventually pay the price. On that note avoid excessive media coverage. Continually reading news stories and articles may contribute to heightened feelings of worry and anxiety. Do your best to stay informed and up to date without being consumed with constant updates. One way our Pastor, Mark Varughese puts it is this, “Read the news, but meditate on God’s word.” Which leads me to point 8.
8. Meditate on God’s Word and Pray with Faith
I don’t have all the answers, but God’s Word definitely has a lot of promises. It’s essential that during this time you press into God, meditate on His word and pray with authority. I recently wrote a blog called, “Scriptures to cling to in this season of crisis.” It personally helped me navigate my own questions and doubts. God’s word promises us peace in the storm, protection from harm, perseverance to endure, perspective that’s eternal and purpose in every season.
There is so much power in prayer. So, join your faith with the army of saints and stand in the gap for yourself, your family and our world.
9. Remain Grateful
Gratitude has an amazing way of keeping things in perspective. If the last few years have taught me anything, it’s to be thankful for all the things I once took for granted and appreciate the blessings (and privileges) I still have. Thankfulness has the power to shift your mindset which ultimately influences your emotions, moods and experiences. Try starting a gratitude journal where you list people, moments and things you are thankful for. Because the truth is we all having something in our lives to thank God for.
10. Ask yourself, what can I do to help someone else?
Reaching out to help someone else has a divine way of helping you! In seasons like this, it’s the little things that can mean the most. Reaching out to another person who’s struggling or alone will make the community so much stronger. Last week my kids and I wanted to show their teacher how much we appreciated their commitment, so we went out and bought them a gift and card. As I handed her the gift, I could see her holding back tears. I must admit I was holding them back myself. I know it’s just a small gesture, but there are so many little things we can do to take the focus off ourselves. I guarantee it will help pull you out of any kind of rut.
In the beautiful words of Corrie Ten Boom, let me end on this. ‘Never be afraid to trust and unknown future to a known God.’
Images via Shutterstock.com and Pixabay.com
About the Author: Sabrina Peters
Sabrina is a writer, pastor and relationships blogger. She is passionate about Jesus and changing the way people think about God and sex.
For more information on Sabrina and more of her blogs, visit her website sabrinapeters.com