Living through a pandemic can take an emotional and mental toll on a person’s well-being. The Good Samaritan Society’s Greg Wilcox, former Senior Pastor and Vice President of Mission Integration, shares some insights for dealing with difficult times.
“It's important to have a strategy for dealing with the heaviness and the unusual kinds of times we're in with COVID-19 because our lives have been turned upside down,” he says. “With the constant little losses that are happening in our lives, we hardly have time to process or grieve them.”
Pastor Greg offers five strategies for handling the tumultuous nature of life these days.
- Time away. Whatever industry you work in, you need to take breaks. Not everything you think about or do needs to be focused on COVID-19. Make time to do something else, be somewhere else or be with someone else.
- Time to pray. Believing that you are surrounded by a divine love and that you can share whatever is bothering you with that one who loves you offers both courage and hope. Whatever that might look like for you, make a way to connect with a sense of a power and a presence greater than yourself.
- Time to laugh. Laughter is a gift that reminds us not to take ourselves so seriously. We should take the coronavirus seriously but not ourselves. It just helps to be a little lighthearted.
- Time spent with someone you love or doing something you love. Finding ways to connect with family and friends or to be involved in a hobby you feel passionate about is crucial.
- Time for gratitude. With all of the things we've lost and all of the heaviness in the news, it’s helpful to be intentional about remembering the things we’re grateful for.
Greg also leans on Bible verses that have stayed with him throughout his life. One verse is Isaiah 26:3 (KJV) “Thou does keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee because he trusts in thee.”
“That little phrase, ‘perfect peace,’ in the Hebrew language is Shalom times two,” says Greg. “So it's ‘Thou does keep him in Shalom Shalom.’ It's translated perfect peace.”
“When you can keep your heart and mind fixed on the one who loves you most of all and that you’re not alone, no matter how hard the experience is, peace is then a byproduct,” Greg says.
During this time of pandemic, or anytime you’re struggling with a sense of hopelessness that doesn’t go away, please seek help from a mental health professional or a pastor.