It has now been six months that we here in Washington have been dealing with this pandemic. And if you are like me, you are feeling ‘done with it.” Yet, we know all too well, we are not done with it.
I want to remind us that even if we have escaped being physically ill, we have all experienced trauma- both individually and collectively. I just read an article put out by the Washington State Dept of Health* that provides a very helpful reminder that the extended period of social isolation that we have all been through can and will take a toll on our mental health and psychological well-being. The virus is not the only thing that has been spreading; so has anxiety, depression, fear, insomnia, frustration, sadness, anger, fatigue, grief, a sense of numbness and feeling out of control. Many of us have increased behaviors of eating or drinking too much, complaining, bickering, losing our temper, lashing out at those in authority who get criticized despite their best efforts.
The DOH article suggests that we have moved through an initial honeymoon phase of “we are in this together” and “we can beat this” into the current phase that they name as “disillusionment”- the “is this ever going to end?” phase. Nobody really has all the answers to our many questions. Such constant uncertainty is very difficult to handle. We all need to take a lot of deep breaths, to be gentle and patient, with ourselves and with each other, and to practice intentional “soul care”.
So, my friends, this is a time for us to remain mindful about supporting each other in the things that make for resilience and caring for our well-being- not just physically with masks and social distancing, but also for our spirits. I found the following suggestions for increasing resilience helpful:
- Becoming adaptive and psychologically flexible.
- Focusing on developing social connections, big or small.
- Reorienting and developing a sense of purpose.
- Focusing on hope.
We need to be very intentional feeding our souls and building up our capacity to weather this storm with grace, courage and trust. Take time to renew in creation. Find creative ways to stay connected to those you love. Make space for quiet contemplation. Reflect on your favorite scripture passages that lift and support you. Do something just for fun. Make art or music or try out a new recipe. Whatever you enjoy- make time to do it! Your soul needs it right now!