When I last posted two weeks ago, the world was in a different place. Who knew this much could change in such a short time?!
Today, I wanted to offer some tips to help you access (and anchor yourself in) peace in the midst of the turmoil around us. Whether you’re navigating the COVID-19 situation easily or you’re struggling, the following list includes some of my go-to tools when I need to get into a good headspace. Pick one (or a few) to try out over the next few weeks.
17 Surefire Ways to Help You (Re)Center Yourself in Stressful Times:
- Unplug—Avoid news or social media that fuels fear in your life. (I mean, do you really need to know the latest coronavirus death toll in Italy? ?) What you feed, grows. I’d even invite you to consider a media fast (or at least reduced media consumption) for several days. I’ve drastically reduced my media consumption and it’s amazing how much time (and headspace) I’ve freed up when I’m not in ‘consume’ mode as much.
- Move—our bodies were designed for movement. Have a dance party in your living room, take your dog for a walk, do some yoga or pilates, go for a bike ride or run. Work out some of your mental ‘kinks’ by moving your body.
- Positivity—beware of negative influences in your life. If your loved ones are inundating you with ‘worst case scenario’ text messages or phone calls, be mindful of how much you engage. You don’t have to be a jerk, but you can choose not to get sucked into discussions that promote anxiety or panic. Redirect negativity towards more uplifting conversations. Or listen to something inspiring (podcast or music) or read a good book.
- Meditate—choose a scripture that speaks to you in this season. Even five minutes spent meditating on one verse that speaks of the faithfulness and goodness of God can do a world of good.
- Hydrate—drink water! You know this. I know this. Set a timer on your phone, if necessary. Our bodies need water to function properly.
- Nourish—eat well and regularly. This is kinda obvious, I know, but I’ve caught myself skipping meals lately and I’ve really had to slow down and be intentional, especially with having my kids unexpectedly at home.
- Rest—if you’re tired/overwhelmed, look for ways to get to bed earlier or drop some things from your to-do list. Sleep is so important to us and I’m personally working hard at creating better sleep patterns in my life because I really do function so much better when I’m well-rested. Plus, sleep is a vital component of a healthy immune system.
- Ownership—’own’ yourself in this season. If you’re feeling energized and motivated by the ‘free’ time on your hands, own it. Spring clean your house. Plant your garden. Sew that dress you’ve been meaning to sew. Finish reading the novel that’s been sitting on your bedside table for the past three months. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, scared, or exhausted, own that, too. Go to bed as early as possible. Turn off the tv. Eliminate unnecessary stuff from your ‘to do’ list. Your journey is unique to you and you have permission to be wherever you’re at, right now.
- Reach out—phone/text someone. Whether you’re fine or struggling, reaching out to someone to share a kind word or ask for prayer helps us foster connection. No matter where you’re at, you have people who value you and care for you. (And you’re very possibly better off than someone else in your Contacts list.) Taking our eyes off of ourselves and looking outward is sometimes exactly what we need to shift into a better state of mind. And if you’re doing well, reaching out with an encouraging word will brighten someone else’s day.
- Create—whether you’re unexpectedly home from work or homeschooling your kids for the next little while, accessing the creative part of our brains is so good for us. Paint, draw, color in, bake something, play some music, write a poem, make a vision board, etc. You’ll be glad you did.
- Journal—take five or ten minutes and write down your thoughts and feelings. Write whatever comes to mind. Put pen to paper, don’t edit, and let the words flow. Especially if you’re a verbal processor and don’t have someone you can process with right now, it can be a great way to ‘get the words out.’
- Beauty—we are wired to respond to beautiful things. Light a candle or pick some wildflowers near your house to add a touch of color to your space. Wear something that makes you feel pretty. Make yourself a good cup of coffee (or tea.) Sit outside and listen to the birds or to a piece of music that stirs your soul. I believe beauty is a reflection of our true feminine nature and surrounding ourselves with things that are beautiful (to us) feeds an essential part of our identity. Whatever it is, take some time to add a touch of your version of beauty to your life. I promise you, it’s all around if we take the time to notice.
- Communion—taking communion is something I’ve been feeling increasingly prompted to do these past weeks. Not only does Jesus command us to, but in times like this, reminding ourselves of the power of His blood and the sacrifice He made to redeem us from all the effects of sin (sickness included) is just so powerful. Don’t rush, and if you don’t have grape juice or red wine, improvise. ?? It’s the intention that matters here. I’d even encourage you to do it with your family. I promise you, you will feel something significant shift as you do this.
- Gratitude—oh my goodness, I cannot overstate this enough. Your mind cannot simultaneously focus on fear and thankfulness at the same time. You choose where your focus goes. Even five minutes spent connecting to the things in your life that you’re truly grateful for can shift your entire mindset for the day. Check out this fantastic 5-minute meditation here if you want a quick pick-me-up.
- Breathe—when we’re stressed or anxious, our breathing can become more shallow. Taking 5-10 deep breaths and focusing on the inhale and exhale is a great way to refocus your mind. If you have an Apple Watch, check out the Breathe app on there. Otherwise, there are mindfulness apps that can help with breathing as well (Calm and Headspace are two good ones.)
- Soaking—in case this isn’t a familiar term to you, let me explain. Soaking is when you put on some calming or worship music (instrumental is great, too) and simply lie down and let the Presence of God minister to you. You don’t pray, you don’t sing, you simply ‘be.’ Let Jesus fill you up from HIS well (it never runs dry.) He knows you more intimately than anyone and is delighted to pour out of His overflow. I’ve found that pausing and resting in His Presence often helps me see the ‘gifts’ in the moments that might otherwise pass me by, not to mention that it gives me a few minutes of rest for my body and mind. If you’re a busy mama like me, you might have to intentionally carve out a few minutes, but please do try this at some point.
- Words—life and death are in the power of your tongue! Choose your words wisely. Speak life and hope, and if you’re having a hard time seeing the good, ask Jesus to show you the good in this situation.
Also, if you need prayer, please post a comment below. I would love to pray for you. If you’re feeling scared or overwhelmed, please reach out. If you live alone and are feeling isolated and need someone to talk to, please reach out. There is no condemnation towards you if you’re struggling and often emotions and feelings can change daily.
You don’t have to do this alone.
Alternatively, if you’re feeling peaceful and have resources (practical or spiritual) to spare, I’d encourage you to be attentive to the inner promptings that may be guiding you to share with others. I’ve personally felt prompted to start asking more questions about how I can contribute. At first, it was the more obvious stuff like who might need practical items (food, supplies, etc.) but as I’ve realized how widespread the fear and panic is reaching, I’ve realized that my peace and hope in the midst of crisis are just as valuable. Sharing what we do have (rather than focusing on what we don’t) helps take our minds off of ourselves and onto ways of contribution. Chances are at least some of the people you know could benefit from something you have to offer. ☺️
Our presence matters and it makes a difference.
Finally, I want to encourage you to ask Jesus to help you see the gifts in this season. ? Amidst so much uncertainty, I keep feeling the Holy Spirit tapping me on the shoulder and drawing my attention to the good that surrounds us.
There IS a silver lining here.
And there’s an invitation to pause, connect with our hearts, and see from heaven’s perspective.
Like I said above, PLEASE do reach out if you need prayer or encouragement. I would love to partner with you.
As overwhelming as things may feel, this too shall pass. Together, we will rise, stronger, more focused than ever, and my prayer is that we would be recalibrated to what is truly important. May our lives grow and be forever changed.
You can do it!
P.S. Know someone who would benefit from this post? Please forward it to them.