Today we are living a new normal due to COVID-19. Stay at home orders are in place. Social distancing is being enforced. Educational institutions have transitioned to online platforms. Graduations, anniversaries and birthdays, which were formally in-person celebrations, are now virtual. Weddings have been changed or cancelled.
Social and economic impacts deteriorate every day. Non-essential businesses are closed. Unemployment rates are at an all-time high. Domestic violence and child abuse are at risk for spiking. At times, our new normal seems anything but normal. The thought of it all can be overwhelming.
I like to stay informed by watching news channels, briefings and interviews with medical experts. However, the constant negativity was slowly shifting me towards a state of heightened anxiety. To make matters worse, while I am blessed to be employed with an essential company, I am disheartened by the millions of people who are furloughed or laid off from their jobs. As someone who has been laid off several times in the past, I am well aware of the uncertainties that unemployment brings. However, it was during those unsure times that I learned to diligently seek God for insight, guidance and provision.
If you find yourself engulfed with feelings of anxiety, anxiousness or depression, consider the following actions which are constructive ways to achieve and sustain a positive mindset:
- Be informed, but limit negativity. Set a time limit, such as 15 minutes/day max, to stay abreast of new COVID-19 developments.
- Connect with individuals or groups who are encouraging. You can do this easily via a virtual platform like Zoom or video calls on your mobile phone.
- Find ways to spread joy. There are many people and organizations who are doing great things during the pandemic. Share an inspiring story. Thank an essential worker.
- Use this time wisely. Seek to know and understand your purpose. Develop and use your gift and talents to help others. Discover new interests.
- Reflect on good things. Focus on your blessings. Watch live church services or motivating messages. Read uplifting articles blogs, and books.
One of my favorite scriptures is Philippians 4:8 (NASB), which says “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.”
When constant negativity surrounds you, you can choose to dwell on things that are good.