Cynthia L. Eppley, MA
How do we Get through Quarantine? We’ve examined the what of our current situation.
But what about how we are to live?
There are several key components to get through this in a healthy fashion.
1. Keep a Routine If you are not going to work, avoid the temptation of sleeping in until noon. Get up and get dressed, make breakfast, check your appointments.
2. Keep up your health: Get up and Get Out! Keep up physical exercise. Your gym may be closed, but with warmer temperatures, a walk is refreshing. Also, many gyms are offering free classes online.
Shower and maintain personal hygiene.
Eat healthy foods.
Comfort foods abound. High carbohydrates may satisfy for the moment, but may not be appropriate or best for your metabolism.
Sleep that is restful and suitable will maintain your physical and mental health. In other words— not too much sleep, and not too little sleep. Go to bed at the usual time, and get up on schedule. This is called sleep hygiene.
2. Avoid 24/7 News It is prudent to be informed. But watching the news 24/7 will increase our anxiety and fears. Know enough to make wise choices and be an informed citizen. Avoid speculation and wild theories.
3. Manage Fear and Anxiety How do we manage an onslaught of dealing with a virus? If you follow Facebook you will learn how to make disinfectant. How to clean your groceries upon your return home. How to make masks and sell them. And how to make bread, if you are able to find yeast and flour.
Why do we cater to these methods of control? Because it is a way to control those things that threaten to undo us.
Our hearts are seeking something to cling to, something to worship. Go ahead and make bread and disinfectant. But understand some of the underlying dynamics in our heads and in our hearts.
“Our hearts are restless until we find our rest in Thee.” (Augustine)
4. Understand the Cycle of Grief We have never faced a pandemic like this in our country. There will be changes for all of us. Give grace to others as well as yourself.
This is not the time for judgement.
Every one will be facing this Pandemic with different histories, experiences, and expectations. It has been said: “We’re all in this together.” But that’s not really true. We come from different backgrounds and the application for many has meant change of employment, loss of income, and loss of health. Let’s be gentle with one another. (Ephesians 4:32)
5. Increase community/Avoid Isolation In the time of “Social Distance” we can become isolated from the community.
This is especially pertinent for singles and the elderly.
Fortunately, we live in a time where computers and iPhones can help us bridge that gap. Call your neighbors and check in on them.
Offer to pick up groceries. Be creative in your social contacts.
Zoom with your families, committees, work colleagues, etc.
Facetime or employ Skype to connect. Text loved ones.
And don’t forget a simple old fashioned phone call.
In times of celebration, such as Easter, families have been known to drive 1/2 way to meet. Then a “social distance” dinner was enjoyed by all; desperate times may call for desperate measures.
6. Watch your Self Talk Scripture has much to say about how we “talk to ourselves.” We can consider that we are “stuck at home” or “safe at home.” Our mindset can make a big difference.
Philippians 4: 8
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.
Psalm 100:4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.
1 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters,
3 he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right path for his name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
Elisabeth Elliot: “It is always possible to be thankful for what is given rather than to complain about what is not given. One or the other becomes a habit of life.”
7. Cultivate Daily Praise Related to #6, cultivate a daily praise list. There is so much for which we can be thankful. Concentrate on His many gifts and mercies to us.
I have a friend who is posting her daily praise at the end of the day. It blesses her. It blesses us.
8. Fill your Mind with God’s Word
Related to our self-talk, this is a time to consider how to renew our minds.
Phil 4: 4-7. 4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Rejoice in the Lord through music and song.
9. Serve Others You may have noticed a national sewing project: masks. It seemed like everyone was creating them out of whatever material they could find. It was an outpouring of goodwill and an effort for safety for all. And isn’t this really about serving my neighbor?
The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.
Personally, I cannot sew. But I do cook and bake. So many meals have gone out and especially cookies. There are always cookies.
10. Focus on what You can Control We may not have the ability to manage a Pandemic swirling around us. Or the implications that flow from mandates.
But we can manage our own inner life and attitudes.
And this is all part of good mental health.
You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.