Whether you’re in college right now or not, there’s no doubt that you’re aware of the global pandemic that has swept the earth over the last few months. In fact, you might be tired of reading about it altogether.
Staying calm when all the world seems to give way is admittedly a challenging thing. Our brains are programmed to look for danger, and when your mind is constantly scanning the environment for something that is threatening you, even if it’s not in your immediate environment, that can give way to active anxiety.
So how can we calm our minds amidst all the news, stats, terrible reports, and massive announcements? Here’s a list of things to consider about pursuing peace over the next few weeks.
1. Know the character of God
While it might not seem like understanding the character of God can change how you view the world—trust us. It really can! When you draw near to the Lord and start learning more about Him and his care for the world, the more of His peace we will feel. We learn about God by reading the Bible, learning about Him in Christian community, and by encouraging one another regarding the truths about Christ.
The Bible says that the Lord grants us peace that surpasses all understanding—and that’s true! While you may not fully understand it, knowing Christ and His character means that we no longer have to fear the things of the world that our flesh would normally fear. We can trust that He is well aware of what is going on in the world, and He can take even the most terrible circumstances and make space for good things amidst them.
2. Take care of yourself
If you’re quarantined at home, it can be easy to give up healthy habits like exercise, eating healthily, socializing, and getting enough sleep. Make sure that you’re making time for all of these things. Most stay-at-home orders include a clause that allows for people to get outside in order to exercise, but even if you’re stuck indoors, the internet has plenty of at-home workouts for you to take advantage of. When your ordering groceries for delivery or pickup, don’t forget those fruits and vegetables right alongside all your normal comfort foods.
Perhaps one of the biggest sacrifices people are making right now is socially isolating, but it’s still important that you socialize with people now and then. Community is so important—especially during times like these. Jump on a video chat with a group of friends, or call your Grandma. Chances are good that she’s really needing community right now too. Write letters to your friends, or send someone a special package in the mail. And lastly, make sure you’re not staying up until 2:00 a.m. in the morning every night. Just because you think you may be able to sleep in doesn’t mean that you should. It’s important to keep your sleep schedule on a normal rhythm, even while operating primarily from home.
3. Get help if you need it
Insurance requirements have shifted in regards to telehealth since the pandemic has occurred and most counseling locations are able to offer video chat or phone sessions now. If anxiety is keeping you awake at night, causing physical symptoms, or otherwise interfering with your daily life, it might be time to get some help. Talking to a professional about how you’re feeling can make a world of difference. Not only can a professional therapist help you identify unhelpful and unhealthy thought patterns, but he or she can help you make a plan to combat such thoughts and shift your mindset to a healthier way of processing.
If you’re not sure where to start, get recommendations from friends you know who have seen a therapist or just start searching the internet for Christian counselors in your area. Your insurance plan might make it possible for you to start with a few sessions for free, so check in with them. Your workplace also might provide some sort of deal like this as well—it’s worth connecting with your human resources department just to ask.
Lastly, pray. Talk to the Lord about your worries. Pour out your anxieties in a journal. Endlessly thinking about the “what ifs” that could occur or the negative things happening in the world is not productive. Hand over your anxieties to God, practice gratefulness for what you currently have, and try to keep busy with hobbies or projects that you can have a direct impact on in the meantime.