It’s tough to find a sense of balance when juggling working from home, countless conference calls, preparing meals, health concerns and fears, among other stressors.
Anxiety and stress levels are at an all-time high. More than one-third of Americans (36%) say COVID-19 is having a serious impact on their mental health and most (59%) feel the pandemic is having a serious impact on their day-to-day lives, according to the American Psychiatric Association. People are constantly trying to seek out peace and comfort to get them through the day. The topic of peace is written about many times throughout the Bible. God has given us these tools to guide us through moments like this.
Here are 4 ways to find peace in the midst of chaos:
1. Express gratitude
It can feel tough to express gratitude in this uncertain time. However, practicing positivity is an exceptional way to restore hope. Try taking a few moments out of your day to reflect on your blessings, and write down things you are thankful for. Remember the little things. This response will help you feel better and brighten your day. Use this as an intentional tool. According to a 2012 study published in “Personality and Individual Differences,” grateful people experience fewer aches and pains and they report feeling healthier. No matter what the circumstances are, you can always find something to be thankful for. As a leader, you can take this a step further by showing appreciation to those around you. This is a difficult time for us all, and a little encouragement goes a long way. Use this as an opportunity to speak life and to lead by example.
2. Evaluate your source
It is imperative to ask yourself in times of crisis, “what is my source?” Is it the news or recent statistics? With new information coming our way hourly, it can begin to have a negative impact on our minds. Psalm 27:1 says, “The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?” We should not run from the problem, but run to the ultimate source. As leaders, we must choose to stay grounded every day. If you are rooted in your faith and conviction, you will be able to see beyond the current reality you’re facing. Take this opportunity to grow closer to God through fasting, prayer, and worship. I know that many people’s anxiety has risen sharply. We need to be transformed by the renewing of our minds now more than ever. When you spend time with the Lord, it not only will begin to impact you, but will overflow to those around you. You can’t give away what you don’t have. Choose to fill your heart and mind with the Word of God. Remember, there is a calm in the middle of every storm.
3. Prioritize self-care
Taking care of your body and mind can keep you physically, mentally, and spiritually healthy. As worry takes over your mind, your health begins to decline. Experts suggest we neglect self-care because it can be tough to make healthy changes and manage stress in better ways (Psychology Today). Try to reset your mind daily in order to stay refreshed. Take a moment to relax yourself and eliminate negative energy. Self-care makes up an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. One of the ways I love to recharge is by exercising every day. This physical activity gives me the opportunity to clear my mind and let go of any stress from the day. Another way to care for your mind is by taking time to meditate. Take at least 15 minutes of your day to focus on something uplifting. You can read a book or devotional, listen to a podcast or worship music, or even take time in silence reflecting on good things. This is a perfect opportunity to reassess your habits and begin building new ones.
4. Connect with others
According to a study by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a lack of social connection is a greater detriment to health than obesity, smoking and high blood pressure. However, strong social connection leads to a 50% increased chance of longevity. We must stretch outside of our comfort zones and stay connected to others. The ways to connect with friends and family can feel limited, so intentionality is key. Peace and positivity are contagious. Although there is a physical separation, there are many ways to stay connected virtually. Many businesses and churches are stepping up to the plate and going above and beyond to keep people connected. Through video and phone calls, live streaming, and social media – we are more virtually connected than ever.
We are living through some of the most challenging times humanity has ever faced. As leaders, we have the opportunity to become a guide and to encourage others. If you cling to hope, you can see light even in the darkest days.